I’m a big fan of summertime. I do enjoy the outdoors all year, but summer is the peak for me.

Some days when the mercury tops 100, it can feel miserable outside, but secretly I relish all the highs of the season.

Summer makes me feel energized and it’s when I feel most connected to nature and life. The kids are out of school. We get to spend a lot of time together enjoying the long and warm days. We are in tune with nature while swimming, fishing, crabbing, boating, hiking, and even just sitting on the deck enjoying a great barbecue with our closest friends. My love for summertime is something I feel deep in my soul.

You witness the raw power of nature during summer. You see it when the creeks come alive with fish and crustaceans and the fields explode with lush green growth. You feel it in the powerful storms. And, you don’t need to tune into The Weather Channel or use some phone app to know a summer storm is coming. You can feel it.

After suffering the worst of the heat and humidity for a few days, the air will start to feel different.

The sky darkens and the wind begins to whip. Tree branches bend and leaves dance erratically and twist to reveal their silvery undersides. Birds dart through the sky to find shelter where they can. You can feel the air move and the temperature drop and even sense the electricity buzzing in the air.

As a kid, my family and I would sit on the carport of my childhood home and enjoy the sights and sounds of approaching storms. To feel the wind build, see lightning fork the clouds and count the seconds until each clap was awe inspiring.

I do this with my own kids now, on our front porch. I don’t even have to ask them if they want to sit with me anymore. As soon as they hear a rumble of thunder in the distance, they find their seats on the porch and invite me to join them. It’s a simple joy.

If you’re a light sleeper like me, the big storms that rolled through early Friday probably woke you, too. The rumbles went right through my house, shaking the windowpanes and rattling the walls. Flashes lit my bedroom.

At first, I tried to roll over and get back to sleep, but the noise wouldn’t let me. After a while I stopped trying and just let go and enjoyed the storm. It was a unique and solitary summertime experience.

Usually when I enjoy a storm I’m with my family, watching and chatting the whole time, listening to the kids squeal and laugh, and often holding a child or two on my lap. That night, though, it was just me and that made the experience different. I thought back to my childhood, sitting with my parents and sister during a storm, taking in the majesty of nature together.

As a kid, I didn’t have any sense of time passing in the big picture of things. I was just an innocent child, enjoying nature with open eyes. But as an adult, I see the seasons pass — even more quickly it seems these days — and my kids growing taller. Life moves on, relentlessly.

That morning storm gave me a newfound appreciation for the poetic voice of Bob Seger who sang the lyrics “I woke last night to the sound of thunder, how far off I sat and wondered.”

I’ve always liked the song, but I get the meaning behind it now. “When you just don’t seem to have as much to lose” is the kicker for me.

As a kid, I had little appreciation for the responsibilities and seriousness of adult life. Now, though, I’ve got five wonderful children who are the fruits of my labor and all my hopes and dreams. I can relate to the idea of having a lot to lose.

I never really gave much thought to what Bob meant when he sang about “autumn closing in.” But in a few weeks, the kids will be back in school, grinding through another academic year, and our summer adventures will be over.

Labor Day is just around the corner, as well as cooler temperatures, and all of us will soon pass another milestone, with summer in the rearview mirror.

We have passed the peak. There’s not a whole lot of summer left at this point. But I’m hoping we still have at least a few thunderstorms yet to enjoy. Even with my newfound sense of maturity, nature still thrills me as much now as in my youth.

Let’s savor all that summer has to offer and go out of our way to share it with family and friends. Beware, autumn will be here sooner than you think.