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Summer contemplation

WHO cares when the summer solstice is? So what if June temperatures would roast turkeys? Summer, with the accompanying vacation season, doesn't really begin until now: It's the Fourth of July that marks the starting line. This weekend it's a starting line worthy of the Indianapolis 500, as vacation-hungry Americans roar down freeways toward beaches or woods. It'll be that way until Labor Day.

Summer is a season not only for hurrying to get somewhere, but for taking time to enjoy it once you arrive. Sun, sand, and surf soothe beachgoers. Leafy shade delights woods seekers, and scenic vistas reward mountain climbers.

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Summer brings a slower pace: It's conducive to tranquillity, whether at vacation spots or in backyards. Somehow there's time to pry loose a few free minutes between mowing and trimming for lolling in the hammock. Time to barbecue. Time to linger for a relaxed talk after an outdoor picnic.

Southerners, of course, inaugurated their outdoor eating season earlier -- about three months ago.

And southern Californians consider it alfresco time nearly year-round, irrespective of what page the calendar is turned to.

After a fall-winter-spring of forging ahead, summer offers a time for reflection. Are we achieving our goals? Are they the right ones? Are we aiding our fellowman?

Charging around and ``doing'' are important. But even more important is doing the right things.

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