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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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August 08, 2012

32 “Slow Living” Inspired Ways to Savor Summer

By Mark Sisson
125 Comments

As we round out the last few weeks of summer, I’ve been thinking about all the potential left in the season. Although there’s admittedly less pressure to grab hold of every last warm day in my current locale, I remember savoring those final weeks of summer in Northern New England. Time was truly of the essence, and we didn’t waste a day with both fall and school on the horizon again. No matter where we live, I think summer inspires a leisure we more readily forgo in other months when routine often has greater hold of our days. In the spirit of Primal play – and last week’s Slow Living post – here are a few (dozen) ideas for savoring the upcoming weeks. Enjoy, everyone!

  1. Have a Primal picnic. Surprise someone you love, or gather a rowdy group for a Primal inspired picnic. Throw in some Ultimate or beach volleyball, and you’ve got a party.
  2. Go for a walk in the summer rain. Grab you wellies or – even better – go barefoot. Taste the rain. Puddle stomp. Let your mind daydream in the upside reflections of the sky.
  3. Listen to the nighttime wildlife (e.g. the cicada, frogs, crickets, coyotes, etc.)
  4. For the remaining weeks of summer and early fall, pick 1-2 veggies a week that are at the peak of their harvest and go to town experimenting with recipes. Bonus: buy a slew of them at the farmer’s market while they’re cheap, and freeze or can them for later in the year.
  5. Camp.
  6. Sit around the fire at night – fire pit, campfire, bonfire, whatever you have.
  7. Host an impromptu dinner party or summer cocktail hour (al fresco of course). Gather some flowers from your garden for the table. Grill some shrimp in the shell and make a salad. String up some lights, set out some tiki torches, and let the party go well into the night.
  8. Use it as an excuse to whip up your favorite Primal-friendly/-adapted summer drinks like sangria, bloody Mary, gin and tonic, vodka lemonade, or kicked up old fashioned sun tea.
  9. Nap in a hammock.
  10. Attend an outdoor concert or play.
  11. Sleep as close to nature as you can. Even if you can’t camp on a given weekend, pitch a tent in the backyard, or sleep on the porch for a night.
  12. Have some slow style “quality time” with your partner – whenever and wherever the mood strikes (don’t get caught!).
  13. Create a piece of art – whatever you feel like doing in the moment. Don’t stifle the experience with imposed standards. Just see where your mind goes and follow it.
  14. Visit a new park in your area every weekend. Hit all the stops from wilderness areas to botanical gardens, nature centers to arboretums.
  15. Build toad or fairy houses with the kids.
  16. Mud fight!
  17. Spend a whole day (or at least an afternoon) on the water. Go surfing, rafting, water skiing, river tubing, boating, canoeing, kayaking, or any combination of the above.
  18. Have a late summer vacation? Take a day (if not the whole time) without any agenda whatsoever. Wander, poke around, park yourself somewhere and see what happens around you. Get as far away from the tourist hustle and bustle as possible and see where the locals go. Seek out the seemingly mundane, nondescript corners of the place. You might just find yourself swept up in something that will become the best memory of the whole trip.
  19. Take a vineyard tour.
  20. Have an outdoor family movie night – with old family videos. (Public libraries or other facilities sometimes rent out equipment.) Pass on some family history and personal memories. Share funny and meaningful stories late into the night.
  21. Plant something. Sure, it’s a leap of faith at this point in the season. Still, think bumper crop potential. Get in a row of lettuce, herbs, or some hearty root veggies.
  22. Meet the dawn one morning – with a hike, a yoga practice, or a early morning fishing expedition.
  23. Break out the water balloons.
  24. Sit on the beach (ocean or lake shore) with nothing but a cool drink and an indulgent novel.
  25. Spend the day among rocks. Skip stones, climb boulders, or go geode hunting.
  26. Fly a kite.
  27. Splurge on a few huge flower bouquets at the farmer’s market and decorate the house (and your office).
  28. Hang your laundry out to dry. Remember (or discover) what laundry used to smell like before dryers and dryer sheets.
  29. Build a fort (indoor or outdoor) with the kids – or for yourself.
  30. Reclaim the art of the backyard game. I’m talking the likes of croquet, frisbee golf, flag football, volleyball, horseshoes, Kubb (Viking chess), badminton, lawn darts, or outdoor bowling.
  31. Grill an entire four course meal, something totally new and challenging (pig roast, anyone?), or do a traditional New England clam bake.
  32. Spend an evening stargazing. On that note, don’t forget the upcoming Perseid meteor shower this weekend! If you’re a city dweller, get out of Dodge and see the sky the way Grok did.

Thanks for reading today, everybody. Enjoy your day – and your final weeks of summer. Be sure to leave your own ideas for making the most of the time.

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108 Comments on "32 “Slow Living” Inspired Ways to Savor Summer"

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primal pat
4 years 3 months ago

Love this! Great reminder for so many of us. I really needed this right now. Thanks Mark!

OMG first to comment?! WAT!?

andrea
andrea
4 years 3 months ago

Great ideas Mark! I am going to make an effort to do all of these 🙂
It might be a little early in some places, but apple picking is s favorite of mine. There’s nothing like eating a sun-warmed apple right off of the tree!

Holly
Holly
4 years 3 months ago

Hi Mark,

Who needs 32 ideas- let’s start with the number one problem- turn off the internet for at least 48 hours- blackberry, iphone and androids included. The whole business of speeding up is intrinsically linked to ‘cyberspeed’ emails and the perceived need to constantly be connected to ‘knowledge’..i.e.information that really isn’t necessary at all..the banter we text on, waste at lot of our time on is simply enjoyable facts that crowd our brains..and keep us from being able to do the rest of the things on your list.

Cheryl Boswell
4 years 3 months ago

You nailed that totally Andrea. I am on here for business purposes. What happens is it gives me a sorry excuse to be on here too much. That is totally unhealthy. I’ll be off for 3 days starting tomorrow and I’ll bet I will hit most of Mark’s list. That’s the goal anyways.

Cheryl

Fred
Fred
4 years 3 months ago

you got that right!
My wife is OBSESSED with Tv.
Not only that, she got mad at me for not answering the phone after 11,(23:00)

Dan Jerome
Dan Jerome
4 years 3 months ago

Yet, here you are on the Internet 🙂

Joshua
Joshua
4 years 3 months ago

At first I thought, yeah right, and what do I do the with 3 year old and the 2 year old?
After reading I thought, what could be better to do with the kids!

Sarah A
Sarah A
4 years 3 months ago

Absolutely. The majority of the items on this list are very family friendly!

jaime
jaime
4 years 3 months ago

I almost wish I had kids so I could make a fairy garden with them, you should really try that one! There are lots of examples online.

Mary Anne
Mary Anne
4 years 3 months ago

Adopt a neighbor’s kid for the day!

mars
mars
4 years 3 months ago

Make a fairy garden for yourself jaime!

We have a 4-year old and help care for the 3 kids next door, all under 5 yrs old. All I have to say is either “picnic” or “let’s make a fort!” and we’re off! Sometimes, when we’re feeling really nutty, we have a picnic IN the fort! lol

Ware
4 years 3 months ago

I’m all on board with the “plant something” suggestion. I started a garden this summer and it has been really incredible working on it every day, watering, weeding, picking the herbs that grow (and cooking with them!).

The Hoppess
The Hoppess
4 years 3 months ago

I love all of these ideas! I am super lucky to live in the mountains of Colorado, so many of these things I do on a daily basis (listening to nature, being in it, sleeping close to it…) or at least a monthly basis (camping, spending time on the water…)

At least one of the ideas gives me blissful tingles just thinking about it: give me a beach, a cool drink, and a book and I am set!

zack
zack
4 years 3 months ago

This is all great and my imagination is already running wild. I’ll have to think about this more next year. I have a 2.5 year old at home and relaxation is tough to come by.

Mari
4 years 3 months ago

My 2 1/2 year old loves the farmers market, puddles, most of the things on this list, and you can learn a lot watching kids explore the outdoors. I find she’s a lot more self entertaining outside actually!

zack
zack
4 years 3 months ago

Mine is a little hyper. Which is fine, except that we have to be a little cautious sometimes. Also, he’s being raised bilingual and his speech is delayed right now so communicating with him is difficult. True we can still do much on this list and we do, but I am excited for the possibilities next year and beyond.

Mari
4 years 3 months ago

I’m really looking forward to the bike riding, swimming, more self reliant stage myself. Especially since I have a 4 month old as well :P. Hope it didn’t come off preachy!

Jennifer
Jennifer
4 years 3 months ago
I have a 10 and a 4-yr-old…my 10 yr old particularly has always been a bit hyper, very moody and high strung. But being in nature, particularly when she was 3-5 yrs old, has always seemed to calm her. (Unless it’s too hot, which has been a big challenge for us this summer in the DC area.) At that age, you don’t even have to do anything but take them for a walk in the woods and hold their hands. Oh, and let them throw rocks in a lake/stream! Always a big hit with my little one. (Of course, then… Read more »
Guitar_grrrl
Guitar_grrrl
4 years 3 months ago

You’re preaching to the choir, here in the Santa Cruz Mountains, my friend. We’re growing our own, we’re off the grid, we blew up our TV back in ’85, and we love sleeping under the stars this time of year! Thanks for spreading these great ideas.

mars
mars
4 years 3 months ago

hi from san jose! we escape to the santa cruz mountains regularly..

Rob
Rob
4 years 3 months ago

This would make a good checklist for the final days of summer.

Dusty
Dusty
4 years 3 months ago

We could havce a picnic here in West Texas and invite 2 groups of doctors.

One to treat heat stroke and one group for treating rattlesnake bites!!!

AustinGirl
AustinGirl
4 years 3 months ago

I know, these are lovely suggestions, and I will keep them in mind for October, when the temps get below the 90s and 100s…sometimes. Right now, most of these ideas are recipes for misery, where I live!

lockard
lockard
4 years 3 months ago

I too am really ready for Fall when i can enjoy the outdoors again- 105+ temps make summer my least favorite season- Labor Day camping trip is kinda the start of our outdoor times

Tony
Tony
4 years 3 months ago

I was thinking this same thing. Sounds good once the thermometer drops back down to merely “insanely hot”.

Katie B
4 years 3 months ago

Clearly this is the Texas thread! haha

I was thinking, ‘Go outside at midnight to gaze at the stars for 5 minutes and come back in to the AC when you are dripping sweat.’ 🙂

Amy
Amy
4 years 3 months ago

Same here in Fort Worth, Cloudy and 104! I am drying my laundry outside, not paying to heat more air. I do enjoy getting out early in the morning with my dogs for their daily walk. I think October and November are our best months here.

Amy
Amy
4 years 3 months ago

These are great ideas! Now if only summer would come to Seattle…actually, I take that back. We had summer last weekend. Now I’m all for enjoying the early days of fall!

Alison Golden
4 years 3 months ago

Not sure about the mud fight but I have been considering hanging a clothes line – memories of childhood and hanging it up is meditative. Then again, perhaps I’m weird. 🙂

Mary Anne
Mary Anne
4 years 3 months ago

No, you’re not weird. Either that or I’m weird, too! Great company; nice to ‘meet’ you!

Heather
Heather
4 years 3 months ago

We don’t own a dryer, so outside or by the fire (it’s winter down here in Oz) is the norm here. Most households have clotheslines in Australia, heaps of sun I guess, but dryers are more often than not the second choice. Power here in NSW has gone up by over 50% in the last few years making a line more compelling and there is nothing like the smell of line dried sheets! Enjoy your summer folks we have a few more months to go, and the daffodils are just peeping out of the soil,
Cheers

Yvette
Yvette
4 years 3 months ago

How do you keep your clothes from getting too stiff?

Carly
Carly
4 years 3 months ago

i also wonder about the stiffness. i line-dry my clothes we don’t own a dryer (live in north queensland). i add a little bit of vinegar to my rinse cycles which helps a little bit but the lint on some of my clothes and the stiffness makes me wish i could run a dryer now and again.

BT
BT
4 years 3 months ago

Stop stiff clothes by using a lot less soap. I use a fabric softner on sheets and towels..I own no dryer but have a rack and clothesline hills hoist..NSW sun is all.

Adrienne
Adrienne
4 years 3 months ago

If you have a dryer, then throw them in for 5 minutes before hanging. It takes out most of the wrinkles and stiffness. The towels are still a little “crunchy”, but personally I love them that way – not water repellant like towels dried with fabric softener

Stefanie
4 years 3 months ago

Love this! Got a few of these checked off already, looking forward to the meteor shower – thanks Mark.

For anyone in Ontario, or who plans to visit, take #19 and go to Southbrook Vineyards. They are completely bio-dynamic and organic. Amazing place, the building itself is a work in environmental engineering (and the wine’s great too)…

Stacie
4 years 3 months ago

Just went kayaking Sunday, will be camping this weekend, going to a summer market Saturday. I think I’ve got a good handle on enjoying my last days of summer (although, we in Alaska like to call it “not-winter”)…anyway, gotta take advantage while we can! Love my summer months. Great suggestions and I hope everyone gets out to play!

Jeff
Jeff
4 years 3 months ago

I’m with AustinGirl. Here in Oklahoma we are living in an oven right now. None of these outdoor ideas has any appeal right now. In the fall, you bet.

Yvette
Yvette
4 years 3 months ago

Yeah, I was up in Tulsa last weekend! To think I was going to hammock tent it at Keystone State park to save money on accomodations! Nahhhhh…

yoolieboolie
yoolieboolie
4 years 3 months ago

So many of these have been on my list for this summer! I have to finish painting a forest mural in the boys room this week, then it’s camping in the yard and blueberry picking! Most others will fall into place. Thanks for the great reminder 😉

Grokster
Grokster
4 years 3 months ago

Off topic, but this got me thinking whether Grok was a bit of a nomad in his days, moving south as the conditions got tougher towards the winter.

Jack Kruse has an interesting take on this cycle, saying that (cold-adapted) humans are build to eat almost no carbs during the darker winter months.

katie
4 years 3 months ago

I love this list, as being a New Englander I understand that fleeting feeling that August brings. Even when I have work to do I try to bring it outside in the summer. I also have been slack lining and vowing to ride my bike anywhere I need to go.

mars
mars
4 years 3 months ago

Oh this is such perfect timing. I go on vacation next week. We’re not going anywhere, just a “staycation” with my family. My one and only goal for the week is to not check work email! I need to savor the time with my family. Thanks Mark, I love these ideas!

George
George
4 years 3 months ago

Lawn darts are illegal now! Bad choice of an outdoor game, as they truly are a primal weapon. =)

Jake
Jake
4 years 3 months ago

Can’t walk in the rain this sweet drought.

Nicole J.
4 years 3 months ago

Thank you so much for this list. I really needed the reminder. I plan on adding several of these to my must-do list. Particularly the ones I can share with my kids and partner. But the sunrise one – that’s going to be just for me and its going to be a run on the beach in a couple of weeks. Maybe we could have an equally awesome list for the other 3 seasons?! I can always use the inspiration.

edearl
edearl
4 years 3 months ago

The wife and I already had plans to take the kids (ages 3, 5, 6, and 8) out on Saturday night for the meteor shower. Should be great fun!

Linda
Linda
4 years 3 months ago

Thanks, Mark, for all those really good suggestions. Sometimes our entertainment repertoire grows a bit stale. This ought to freshen things up! 🙂

Rositsa
Rositsa
4 years 3 months ago

Great ideas…if you don’t live in England…No possibilities for stargazing, camping,…but I like the idea for walking in the rain-perfect for the conditions this summer 😀

Gift Clumsywarrior
4 years 3 months ago

I LOVE THIS POST!!!! Lot’s of great idea here Mark! And I agree, it’s easier to do this during summer time. This summer. I already went camping, climbing, strolling around new parks, & drawing. But I wanna make it a habit that I can carry over to during school year.

Shane
Shane
4 years 3 months ago

Man Mark!! You sure have a handle on things. Thanks for the reminder to stop and smell the roses. Cheers!

Shane

Susie
Susie
4 years 3 months ago

Very timely post – here in the UK we are getting some good weather (finally)! Must try not to get too stressed out trying to fit all these slow living ideas in over the next four days!!

Seriously though – we’ve grown a load of veggies this year and it’s great picking them and then ambling back to the house to make dinner. Very satisfying – much better than zooming to the supermarket!

Karen M
Karen M
4 years 3 months ago

Ahhh, the ideas on your post all sound wonderful but I live in Las Vegas where today’s high temperature is expected to be 111 degrees!! So, the only pleasure is staying inside, in the air conditioning! But your lovely post allowed me to dream a little today, so thank you Mark!

DarcieG
DarcieG
4 years 3 months ago

Pool or Lake Mead? Or Mt. Charleston?

Diane
Diane
4 years 3 months ago

A friend of mine had a little fire ring in his backyard, just like the kind of small fire ring you might find in the backcountry, ringed with rocks. He had a small grill for it. This is what he used to barbecue. When the meal was done, you could eat dinner sitting around the campfire, right in the back yard. I wish I had one of these. It made for a truly awesome evening, sitting by the fire, having a glass of wine, just talking and enjoying the evening.

Heather
Heather
4 years 3 months ago

Takes 10 minutes to make and the grill can be bought in a camping store, don’t forget the Billy tea!

Lynn
Lynn
4 years 3 months ago

The campground where we are living this summer uses wheel hubs for their fire rings. Brilliant, we thought, for repurposing trash. Our neighbor puts a grill on his wheel hub and cooks out every meal. Most people here enjoy the evening campfires, now that the burn ban is over and the grass is green again. You know hardy Americans. Under 80 degrees? Let’s have a camp fire. Or go for a meandering from camp to camp. What creative things can you find to repurpose as a fire ring?

Nannsi
Nannsi
4 years 3 months ago

We learned this trick from an old, OLD friend who’s being doing this all his life.

We just cut a circle of sod out of a spot in the back yard, dig a shallow hole, pile in the firewood, and fire away! Next morning we replace the soil and top it with the sod. When we decide to use it again, the soil is nice and soft and it’s a lot easier to dig…thus encouraging frequent use. When it’s settled after the winter you don’t even know where it had been.

Carl
Carl
3 years 8 months ago

Great repurpose grill is a brake drum from a large truck. Find one at junkyard for about $10. Peace.

Derry
4 years 3 months ago

A great list and even better still nearly all free to do! As the saying goes ‘The best things in life aren’t things’. Just spending time outdoors in nature is a great way to rejuvenate. My kids love puddle stomping, and with the wet Summer we’ve had here in Ireland, they’ve had ample opportunity to enjoy it!

mary
4 years 3 months ago

Im with you on that one Derry ! And here in Derry , I think our summer has finally arrived !!
Im wondering if you’re from the maiden city and if so , wheres the best place to get good meat etc ?

Milan
4 years 3 months ago

Great stuff. Life is too short. Find time for these stuff!

Bill Halsell
Bill Halsell
4 years 3 months ago

Living in Texas, summer is one of the times of year that actually drives us inside rather than outside. But an evening in the hammock (with bug repellent) is always welcome.

Nion
4 years 3 months ago

The husband and I like to pick a random park and go wander the trails and watch wildlife. It’s amazing how many people walk straight past the hundred or birds, bugs and other animals you see…
I love pointing out wild animals to little kids though, the look of awe and wonder is amazing 🙂

Susan Alexander
4 years 3 months ago
What a great list, Mark. Thank you. I feel so fortunate that the place we’re going for vacation at the end of August is conducive to just about all of these things. And we have no agenda for any part of the vacation, so I expect to get some of them in. Slow living is something I’ve been thinking about since you started posting about it. I want to continue it into the school year by limiting the work I do to school hours, so when my daughter gets home, I can clear my desk, turn my computer off and… Read more »
Sarah
4 years 3 months ago

Perfect! As soon as it cools down a little I’m going to start checking some of these off. It’s not been crazy hot here but it’s been HUMID. Bleh.

I love the idea of sleeping close to nature and listening to nighttime sounds. I’m petrified of being outside alone at night (too many nights staying up reading about ax murderers). Going Paleo/Primal has helped me overcome this. I’m beginning to experience the beauty of nighttime again.

Alex Siddy
4 years 3 months ago

Slow living sounds awesome, I better hurry up and start doing it 🙂

Kim
Kim
4 years 3 months ago

Funny how 50 years ago this would be just your average list of fun things to do, but now in our hyper , speed focused world its “slow living”. Great list Mark, lovely ideas all!

JustinK
4 years 3 months ago

Fantastic list! I’ve been an avid watcher of the Perseid meteor shower for years now, although I only saw it successfully once six years ago and have tried unsuccessfully since. Hopefully this year will be the year!

sue
sue
4 years 3 months ago

It’s winter here in New Zealand, but look forward to doing some of these when summer arrives. Plenty of gorgeous unspoilt land to play in here 🙂

Heather
Heather
4 years 3 months ago

We are spending the last 2 weeks of summer camping and will be able to check off most of the things on that list. It will be the perfect ending to summer!

Ingrid
Ingrid
4 years 3 months ago

Nothing beats swimming in a natural river or stream with a reasonably good current. They are cold, musical, rocky, clear, with natural pools. You can see the pebbles and rocks on the bottom and the fish, turtles, crayfish, etc. The current is a massage, there’s no chlorine, no sharks. Remember the children’s book, “Wind in the Willows”? Like that.

Longtail
Longtail
4 years 3 months ago

Now is a great time to get into fall vegetables. Go to a gardening store and ask someone there to help give you advice on what fall/early winter harvest vegetables would be good to plant right now in your area. We just got our pumpkin seeds in for Halloween and our traditional Primal holiday soups, stews, pies, and of course, delicious roasted pumpkin seeds for snacking! 🙂

Ingrid
Ingrid
4 years 3 months ago

Nothing beats swimming in a natural river or stream with a reasonably good current. They are cold, musical, rocky, clear, with natural pools. You can see the pebbles and rocks on the bottom and the fish, turtles, crayfish, etc. The current is a massage, there’s no chlorine, no sharks. Lie in the sun on a flat rock and listen to the water. Remember the children’s book, “Wind in the Willows”? Like that.

Amy
Amy
4 years 3 months ago

Great post and replies!

Craig Valency
4 years 3 months ago
Great post Mark! Sometimes I just need to see it in writing or hear from someone for a jump start. I tend to have all these ideas in my head — “one day I’ll do that. . .” These were all simple and life-affirming things that don’t cost much and everyone can do. One thing we’ve done to slow down and get to know each other better is to put a couple of chairs and table on our patio and plant a garden. Even though we are in an apt, my wife and I now enjoy sunsets on the patio… Read more »
Haruko
Haruko
4 years 3 months ago
These sound like some good suggestions, I live in Scotland we get some pretty wet days in summer and not a lot of sun. I’d love a walk in the rain but I have a broken leg at the moment, anyone got some good suggestions for making the best of it. Been working out with weights and things but all the suggestions online seem to be with the stuff I am bored with, mainly reading, gaming and watching films. Being cooped up on the sofa has made me frustrated and bored. I am able to move a bit but I… Read more »
Lisa
Lisa
4 years 3 months ago

Love this article! Counted at least 13 accomplished in the last three weeks… Summertime in the mountains = the good life!

RoseAnne
4 years 3 months ago

Great ideas to enjoy the Maine summer that is rapidly evaporating. There is nothing like getting out on the ocean in a boat and feeling the wind in your face!

Donna J.
Donna J.
4 years 3 months ago

Gosh! All those things on the list just made me cry as I sit in my office.

WildGrok
WildGrok
4 years 3 months ago

Wow, this one describes me:

“Sit on the beach (ocean or lake shore) with nothing but a cool drink and an indulgent novel.”

Right now reading Julie Czerneda’s last novel of the Species (3 books) series

Marcia
Marcia
4 years 3 months ago

These are great ideas. I live in so cal and I have a six year old. I’m on maternity leave with the baby, so these are great ideas.

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