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The heat has been slowly seeping in and wrapping its sticky tendrils around our area for a few weeks now.  That sticky feeling in the air as the humidity sweeps in with the heat is a sure sign that late spring is preparing to give way to summer. 

It’s a little crazy how different the idea of summer is as an adult versus how it was as a kid.  As a kid summer is release, it is the dropping of the shackles that tied us to books and desks.  We revel in the days of freedom and drink in the heat as if it is a life-sustaining thing.  As an adult I greet summer’s arrival with a sigh.  Now, I fight against the heat as if it is an enemy and watch the cavorting kids and tourists that roll through our town with a certain level of animosity.  Summer is now something to survive, trudging through it day by day where it used to fly by on the wings of a passing firefly.

I suppose that paints a fairly grim picture of my views on summer as an adult.  But there is a bit of exaggeration there, I suppose.  Summer ushers in many things in its wake that tantalize the imagination of even an adult.  Summer brings concerts, festivals, and other events in such a wide variety and style that there always seems to be something out there to help forget the heat.

This evening, I am going to be attending among my favorites.

This evening my wife and I will be taking our lawn chairs down to Harrisburg’s Reservoir Park for an evening of Shakespeare.  This year the Gamut Theater Group, which does the performance each year, will be performing “As You Like It.”  There truly is nothing quite like the magic of live theater under the summer stars, and the price is right as the performance is free.

These types of events are the small gems that happen in cities across the country that so many people are entirely unaware of.  They are small opportunities to enrich your life and enjoy an evening with your loved ones.  I was lucky enough to be exposed to Shakespeare at an early age when I found an old box full of old Folger editions during one of our moves.  Cradled among them was an old, age-worn copy of “Hamlet” bound in faded and torn brown leather.  I devoured “Hamlet” in about a week and then began on the others.  Thus, a lifelong love of the Bard was begun.

I have been lucky enough to have the opportunity to see Gamut three times in the past year since we discovered them.  “As You Like It” will be my fourth performance, and I am very much looking forward to it.  I encourage anyone who reads this blog to seek out similar cultural events.  Attend a beer or wine festival, savor the offerings at a local taste event, or rock on to local talent at outdoor music venues.  Whatever you do, take a little time to indulge in summer and be a kid again for a little bit.

Summer can be a monster to devour you as you drive to work on asphalt ribbons shimmering with heat, or it can become the freedom you once knew.  Which would you rather have?

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