It's summertime, and the living is easy. Or so the lyrics of an old song go.

Finally, finally, finally - summer has arrived.

My wife often comments that she moved to Pine River five years ago to get away from the cold, wet weather of spring in Duluth-Superior. This year, April and May were just as bad in Echoland as it was "colder by the lake."

By the time you read this we will have had one whole week of summer weather, and the best is yet to come.

Now that summer is really here, even us old curmudgeons can shed our long underwear and pack away our parkas and coat sweaters.

I hope that your summertime "living is easy" too, and that you can work less and enjoy more. Whatever your circumstances, things should slow down a bit, with longer hours for your own time and a little less clock time.

Make it a point, if you're self-employed, to start a little later and quit a little earlier. Whatever your schedule or routine, take time to go fishing in the evening, or play a round of golf during the week, or take a relaxing trip to anywhere.

We are a society of contrasts and contradictions - not only among us, but within our own selves. We like to think of summer as that time when "living is easy" - whether it's coffee and conversation in the morning sun, or a relaxing evening with a beverage while watching westward toward the red or golden sunset.

However, for many in our midst, it was - and still is - the reverse. Even the more easygoing, laid-back farmers in the area had to "make hay while the sun shines." And, so they did.

From spring planting through summer haying and into fall harvest, it was and is "dawn to dark," with cattle-related chores still added in.

For many of the town folks it was working at Breezy Point, or other resorts, or long hours in labor or construction to make enough money and log enough hours to qualify for unemployment compensation to subsist and coast through the cold winter months.

Many think of summers as a long break, or vacation, or time for travel for students and teachers. For most students and teachers of the present day, however, it is just a switch from classroom to another hectic workplace for the summer months.

If you can, take time to notice and smell the flowers, particularly the lilacs this week. Take time for things you like to do. Go fishing. Play golf, or softball or tennis. Read a book. Or, take time to go sit or doze in the sun and do nothing.

There is a favorite Bible verse that reads: "This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it."

Let's expand it to: This is the summer that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.