Those long, sweltering days of summer seem to get all of the praise. But what about the enchantment of a summer night—when the street lights come on, the temperature cools and the fireflies flash against the blackness?
Where childhood memories of campfire storytelling, moonlit swimming and constellation gazing find you. Where, with your back stretched across the fertile grass, searching skyward for answers in the moon and patterns in the stars, the universe becomes your oyster.
If this sounds like your idea of a good time, ahead are seven ideas to spark inspiration and add magic to your summer nights–including the romance you have with yourself. So grab those light and airy pajamas, your softest blanket and an iced beverage to keep you cool. Whether spent alone in the spirit of self-care, or creating tender memories with a friend or a lover, we’ve gathered a world of tips for how to set the scene for a night of warmth and wonder.
Explore an unfamiliar nook of your city or town.
Didn’t you know that the dreamers come out at night? One way to find charm after the sun goes down is to venture out of your nest.
You might attend an essay or poetry reading in a faraway borough or community, dine on a rooftop patio, catch a comedy show, ride some carnival rides or join the mass of swaying bodies at one of your local music festivals. Maybe even go for a late-night swim or find a drive-in movie theater featuring a classic you’ve never seen (or wouldn’t mind seeing 100 times more).
Depending upon where you live, it’s possible that you’re only a few months away from the chill in the air keeping you from lounging on those fertile lawns and moonlit patios. So, even though you may be struggling not to burn out in the heat, relish the open air while you can.
Build a summer sanctuary amongst the trees.
Our modern day has created a massive divide between our bodies and the earth’s flow of electrons. Studies show that our lack of contact with the earth’s soil might be contributing to the rise of chronic diseases, inflammatory conditions and autoimmune disorders.
Make no mistake about it: there are dramatic mental and physical health benefits when you reconvene with the earth. So find a space outside–whether it be on a sprawling lawn, a porch hammock or at a nearby park. If you’re at home, string some patio lights and gather some books and pillows. If you’re away, grab a cooler of your favorite beverages and spread a blanket across the grass. Even if all you’ve got to work with is a tiny balcony overlooking a bustling street or a crowded parking lot, perhaps you can fill it with fresh flowers and plants.
The point is to find your sacred place under the sky and commune with it. Turn on a beautiful piece of music or be serenaded by the distant sounds of people living out stories you’ll likely know. Journal or meditate or dream. Become unlocked to the mysteries of the night. Let the truth of nature invite you closer to the truth of yourself.
Soak in a full moon gratitude bath.
In June, we gaze at the Strawberry Moon. In July, it’s the Buck Moon, and the August sky glows with the Sturgeon Moon.
Most selenophiles write out their intentions on the New Moon, with plans of manifesting those goals by the Full Moon. But what about all of the gifts you manifest without ever giving them a second thought?
Like, say, the late-night phone conversation with a girlfriend that shifted your mindset in the most transforming of ways. That spontaneous road trip with a loved one that created the kind of inside-joke that’s persisted for years. The Netflix series you stumbled upon that brought so much light-hearted laughter to your weekend. The barista who always gets your latte just right.
Write down what you’re grateful to have anchored into your life–in ways large and small. Run a bubbly bath, toss in some salts or herbs, and let the gratitude sink all the way in. Remember when you dreamed up those fiery intentions for the things you’ve since drawn into your reality? Feel the gratitude vividly and let your appreciation be illuminated by the glow of the full moon.
Exchange starlit stories with your lovers, family or friends.
What a whimsical opportunity to get to know someone you care about on a deeper level.
For this, simply grab some of your favorite people and a pitcher of lemonade or a bottle wine, and get ready to shed all of your inhibitions under the summer stars. Below are several story prompts to toss around the circle. Some may transport you to surprising moments from summers past. But don’t get crazy; you may not want to revisit them all on that Full Buck Moon.
- When I was 15 years old, I spent most of my summer days…
- My worst experience with mosquitos/hornets/wasps…
- The coolest or craziest fireworks display I ever saw…
- I once had a summer fling that ended disastrously; here’s what happened…
- If I knew I’d be dead by next summer, the one thing I’d most savor this season…
- The creepiest hotel or Airbnb I’ve ever stayed in…
Write a heartfelt, handwritten letter to a long, lost kindred.
Some nights might be too hot and humid for wandering. So, in such case, you might curl up in the comforts of your home and let your unresolved feelings and unspoken apologies land on the page. Perhaps there’s someone who meant a lot to you once upon a time, but you never told them. Or, maybe you did tell them, but a miscommunication went sideways and created a nasty storm and there’s heavy air you’d like to clear between the two of you.
Whoever’s tugging at your heart, return to the memories and let them pour out of you. You’ve got nothing to lose but regret. So, if you’ve never stopped thinking about what this person meant to you or the lovely ways they showed up for you, tell them how you feel. Let the pen cradle you and cheer you on. Get it all out of you–the beauty and the hilarity and the sorrow and the thankfulness. Revisit the laughter and love or make the amends. Even if you don’t intend on sending it.
Set yourself free from something that’s imprisoned you all year-long.
Summer marks the halfway point of the year. Whatever bothered you in January or February has simply got to go. Let it die in the searing heat. Ask that forgiveness and surrender burn it away. Don’t let the summer sun set with it still lingering in the shadows, eager to haunt you and trigger you at any moment.
Get alone with yourself and examine the facets of your memories that most hold your happiness captive. Let it be known that the bitterness, or guilt, or regret, or whatever it is that’s still hanging out in your psyche is better off gone.
Inscribe your personal vow of freedom onto the pages of a journal, or create a symbol of it and carve it into a piece of wood. Before summer bids its farewell and autumn takes center stage, remember that summer is the season to claim your freedom.
Drift to dreams with the windows open.
There’s something hypnotic about drifting to dreams while being serenaded by a summer storm. The sound of the rolling thunder, the whistling wind and the pounding rain. It’s magical.
But you know what’s even better? Cracking open a window and welcoming the night air into your bedroom. How often we forget that the universe is our playground. I think summer serves as a beautiful reminder of its abundance–so ripe with unexplored ideas, untried inventions, lush opportunities and delicious freedoms.
So, this week, before you crawl under the bedsheets, open a window and reconvene with the breeze. Invite the spirit of possibility all the way inside. Listen to what it has to say. Because, before long, summer will have taken its final bow and the chill of autumn will blow through. Until then, let the warm air find your skin and romance your dreams and remind you that the world is asking you to join it.