As the calendar months get closer to turning from summer to fall, I’ve been thinking about the epitome of a Minnesota summer. Although it’s many things to many people, to me it’s characterized by sun, water, and pines. If you live in the urban Twin Cities, a summer highlight is a trip “up north” whether for a weekend or a week. As the car noses northward the landscape changes, the sky gets bluer, the lakes become more numerous, and the smell of pines is evident. It’s here that I relax and breathe deeply – the smells of summer. When the cell phone is out of range and the days are marked by the sunrise and sunset, life becomes simpler and I am more concentrated. Sure, I still try to rush to cram all the “things” I want to do into each day, but it’s a slower sense of urgency. A sense that the day will be delightful no matter what activities take place (or what leisure and quiet is enjoyed). A walk down the path to the lake, some quiet time sitting on the dock watching the sun reflect off the water, and listening to the sounds of the wind in the trees, the fish surfacing, and the loons calling — this, to me, is the epitome of summer in Minnesota.