Those long, sweltering days 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 slightly 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 patterns in the stars, the universe becomes your oyster.
Ahead are seven ideas to spark meaning, romance and pleasure in your summer nights — even if it’s just the romance of self. So grab your lightest pair of pajamas, your thinnest blanket and a beverage to keep you cool. Whether spent alone in the midst of self-care, or creating memories with a friend or a lover, you’re sure to set the scene for a night of enchantment and wonder.
#1 Explore Strange & Unfamiliar Nooks of Your City
Don’t you know that the dreamers come out at night? Venture out of your nest after the sun goes down — especially if you’re experiencing a crippling case of FOMO from hibernating in your air-conditioned house or office all day long (as I often am).
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 is possible that you are only a few months away from the chill in the air keeping you from lounging on those blocks, lawns and patios. So, even though you may be struggling not to burn out in the heat, enjoy the open air while you can.
#2 Create an Outdoor Sanctuary
String some patio lights. Spread a blanket across the grass. Gather some books and pillows. Maybe surround yourself with your favorite crystals, flowers or plants. Whether your home has a porch with a hammock, a sprawling field in the back or a tiny balcony overlooking a parking lot, just find your sacred place under the open sky.
Whether journaling, or dreaming, or merely sipping lemonade in the presence of flashing fireflies, this is a place where you can lean into the mystery of the night. Where you can connect with nature and the truth of yourself. Maybe even be serenaded by the distant sounds of bugs, and animals and people living out journeys you’ll never know about.
#3 Take 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? You know — that late-night phone conversation with a friend that shifted a stubborn perspective for you in the most transforming of ways. That spontaneous date with your significant other that created the sweetest inside-jokes and memories. That movie you stumbled upon on Netflix with that one line that has brought so much laughter to the weeks since watching in.
Write down what you’re grateful to have anchored into your life — in ways large and small. Run a bath, toss in some basil, a salt soak or some essential oils, and let the gratitude sink all the way in. Remember when you dreamed of and intended for all of those faraway and strange things you have now lassoed into your reality? Let that gratitude be illuminated by the glow of the full moon.
#4 Exchange Starlit Stories With Your Lovers, Family and Friends
What a whimsical opportunity to get to know someone you care about on a deeper level.
Simply grab your person(s) and some lemonade or wine, and get ready to shed 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…
- I most love or hate fireflies/mosquitos/hornets/wasps, and here is the story of why…
- The most memorable experience I ever had with fireworks was…
- I once had a summer fling that ended in either disaster or heartbreak, and here’s what happened…
- If I were to learn that I would be dead by next summer, the one thing I would most savor this summer would be…
- The creepiest hotel or Airbnb I’ve ever stayed in was…
#5 Write a Letter to an Old, Lost Friend
Some nights it will simply be too hot, buggy and humid out there for wandering. So, instead, curl up inside the comfort of your home and let your unresolved feelings and unspoken apologies find the page. Let the memories pour out of you. Tell them how you feel. A summer night is the perfect time to arouse those long-overdue reunions.
#6 Commit a Vow to Be Free of Something That Imprisons You
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 burn it away. Don’t let the summer sun set with it still lingering in the shadows, eager to haunt you at every triggering moment.
Get alone with yourself and examine the facets of your psyche that most hold your happiness captive. Let it be known that the bitterness, or guilt, or regret, or whatever it is that is still hanging on is better off gone. Inscribe your vow onto the pages of a journal, or create a symbol of it and carve it into a piece of rock or wood. Before you cross over into autumn, remember that summer is the season to be set free.
#7 Fall Asleep With the Windows Open
Whether alone or with a partner, most would agree that one of the most comforting ways to cross over into the sleeping state is to be nestled in the safety of your bed while being serenaded by a midsummer storm. There is something hypnotic about the sound of the thunder rolling, the wind whistling and rattling the tress, and the rain beating wildly against the roof.
But when a storm isn’t raging, it’s lovely to crack a window and welcome the night air in. Let it find you and remind you of how vast this world is. Of how lush are its possibilities, faithful are its seasons and ripe are its freedoms. Let its warmth romance you before summer takes its final bow and the chill of autumn blows through.