Under the stars four nights each week, you can sit on a blanket or in a folding chair or on the bleachers and picnic and look forward to Bardic pomp and silliness at Festival Theatre’s Much Ado About Nothing in Austin Gardens. An excellent way to spend an evening in the summer resort town otherwise known as Oak Park.

Summer’s back, and “much ado about nothing” is an apt description for the long, lazy, yet very active and eagerly awaited couple of months stretching before us. June, July and August represent an ongoing festival of summertime ease. It’s about nothing the way the TV show Seinfeld was about nothing-that is to say, it’s about everything, everything about life’s fullness.

You can go elsewhere, of course, and many people do, but while you’re here, summertime, when the livin’ is easy, is cause for some small celebration.

Each week in June, for instance, brings something new to celebrate: The cottonwoods let loose and so do the schools. Cottony fluffs simulate snowfall while kids wander the streets in a pleasurable daze, set free from the structured schoolday.

Then comes the first blooming of roses, and lawns crowned by white clover flowers. The week before last it was the catalpa trees-billowing tufts of ruffled flowers, piled atop large cordate (heart-shaped) leaf platters. Inside each blossom is the faintest trace of purple and yellow and a lovely, understated scent. They brown up and shrivel too quickly-all the more reason to honor their short-lived loveliness.

Last week and lingering into this week it’s the linden trees, unleashing their potent perfume, hanging heavy in the humid air, particularly fragrant in the evening. You don’t realize how many lindens populate our immediate urban forest until they lavish us in mid-June.

Then the fireflies, aka lightning bugs, those marvels of evolution, illuminating our summer nights.

Marvelous all-and worthy of celebrating lest we let June pass unremarked and unobserved. I wouldn’t know how to organize a Cottonwood/Rose/Catalpa/Linden/Firefly Festival, but it would undoubtedly involve a porch, a collection of two dozen or so jars filled with fireflies (holes punched in the top like we did as kids), bouquets of the aforementioned blossoms and roses scenting the air. There would likely be fine wine or lemonade and good music, excessively dramatic readings of favorite poems, and spontaneous expressions of deep thoughts and emotion. In other words, something essentially bacchanalian in nature, set in nature. The evening, of course, would end with a ritualized setting free of fireflies.

We need festivals of the ordinary so we never take our extraordinary world for granted. Summer in Oak Park is that festival.

But that’s just the beginning, the prelude to summer, which started with the solstice last weekend, the longest day, peak daylight, the year’s apogee.

Still to come is the July 4th parade, that testament to towniness snaking its way up Ridgeland Avenue past porches and bunting and people planted along the parkway, capped by the flowering of fireworks against a not-quite-darkened canvas of sky above OPRF High School-those festivities sandwiching youth baseball all-star games in the afternoon.

The next morning-like every Saturday morning from now till Halloween-there are donuts (if you get there early enough) and folksy music and meandering among the stalls at Farmers’ Market, our weekly diorama of earthly abundance. The schmoozing is almost as good as the choosing.

The pools promise relief, comic and otherwise, from the heat. The park district provides Sunday night concerts in Scoville Park-and the Avenue sponsors three Wednesday movie nights there, starting tonight. Sports camps at the high school offer an energy outlet. Libraries keep idle minds focused with reading programs. Restaurants encourage outdoor dining, highlighted by Downtown Oak Park’s festive Thursday Night Out progressive dinner buffet.

Revelers close down streets with their block parties. Tour groups amble through the Frank Lloyd Wright estate district. Kids dart back and forth through lawn sprinklers or ride bikes, heavily helmeted, with protective parents riding herd. Flags flap and wrap around poles. Couples dine on lamplit porches. The overheated and undersated stand in line for ice cream sweets at Hole in the Wall/Ben & Jerry’s/Cold Stone Creamery/Oberweis/Petersens’s.

There are sidewalk sales and arts & craft shows to browse and the annual Library Book Fair to look forward to, and softball games under the lights and art to peruse on Harrison Street.

Welcome back to summer.

Welcome back, summer.

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