I'm still getting my head wrapped around the fact that I actually live here in my piece of paradise on a permanent basis. Summer was always my favorite season and while there is appeal in the crisp clean air of fall with the glorious color of changing leaves, a renewal of hope in the spring when buds reappear on everything, as well as snow to play in in the winter, summer never seemed to last long enough. When I was a kid, I suppose the end of summer also meant a return to school and a loss of the freedom summer meant. But even as an adult when I was a stay at home mom and my kids were the ones heading back to school leaving me more time to myself, still summer didn't last long enough. I loved those long warm evenings, the heat of the sun beating down on my head, and the gentle wind of summer. Flinging myself off the dock into the cool water of the lake, riding my bike down sun-dappled roads, exploring the woods, lush with green growing things, or just the long, seemingly endless days. I even savored the oven like feel of my car when I first climbed into it after it had been parked in the sun for any length of time, and the hum of insects in the air. I just plain loved summer. But in New England, the summer never lasted long enough. The first time I had to put on a sweatshirt in the evening brought a feeling of sadness because I knew winter was on its way and it would be a long time before summer rolled around again. The older I got, the longer winter seemed to last. Part of that might be blamed on having moved even further north to Maine. Nothing is more glorious than Maine in the summer and fall, but winter begins almost as soon as the colorful leaves have been blown off the trees and lasts well into April, often even through May. It turned out spring was an illusive season that often never arrived at all. Some folks said Maine had four seasons, Summer, fall, winter and mud. Mud season lasts from the last snow through the thawing of the ground until the temperatures abruptly shoot into the 80s and summer seems to have arrived with no warning. Then summer itself seemed to last only a few swift weeks with the first bright red leaves appearing even as early as mid-August. So, here I am in St Augustine where summer lasts for at least nine months and the other three seasons are crammed into three mild months that often have snatches of summer-like weather here and there. And I still have a hard time feeling confident that I'm not wasting a precious summer day when I have to be in a meeting all day, or spend the day in and out of the car getting errands done. Traveling north to visit family always seems to coincide with their coldest spells regardless of the season and I'm still feeling like I might miss some of my summer. I suppose eventually I will become accustomed and stop worrying about squandering the warm sunny days, but I hope I never lose my appreciation for the wonder of summer days or the fact that I enjoy so many of them here in my new Sandcastle by the sea.