It begins with the pink moon in spring. It begins with fireflies in the hedges and falling in love for the first time.

It’s passion, but it’s also revenge. It’s fire and water. It’s everything you dreamed of and every regret. It’s what you lose and what you gain. It’s the time of year when you find a love letter that’s not addressed to you right there on your bureau. You tell yourself not to read it, but you do. What’s done cannot be undone, unless you make it so. You walk through the dark and listen to the cicadas calling. There are frogs on the dirt road and you’re crying. All the leaves are green. You feel the green inside of you, twisting through you like a vine.

You remember old curses and a spell your grandmother taught you. You would need coriander and black string. You would need a black candle and sage. You remember that your grandmother warned you to be careful. Revenge always comes back to you in unexpected ways. She said that if someone betrays you, he might be doing you a favor. They’re setting you free. The birds outside the window are singing. The birds remind you that you’re alive. How can you ignore summer, your favorite time of the year? How can you not rejoice? What’s done is done, what is to come is unknown. All around you the world is beautiful. Sorrow is unavoidable, but this is the time of year to start over. Make a crown of flowers. Celebrate the light. Let go of the darkness. Wear citrine and carnelian for energy, warmth, and strength. Wear silver for protection, and passion, and love.

A summer night is the best time to let go of what you’ve lost. Say the betrayer’s name three times. Look for black feathers on the road. Swim in a pond of dark water and look up at the stars. What ends will begin again. This is the season of roses, the time of year when the wild grass grows so tall you disappear into it as you walk into the meadow. It’s the time of the year to paint, or write a story, or dance under the moon. It’s the time to be brave in all that you do. Summer feels like a waking dream. You sit on the front porch, you drink lemonade, you look over at your neighbor who you’ve never noticed before. In the morning you find he’s brought you wild raspberries. Love begins this way in the summer. A glass jar of sunflowers left on your front steps. A note left taped to your door. You find yourself drawn to someone you’ve been acquainted with for years but have never really known. It’s the time of unexpected happenings.

On the hottest night of the year, when you can’t sleep, you walk through a garden filled with ten varieties of tomato plants, you receive a phone call from someone you used to know and talk until dawn. This is the time of year when you visit places you’ve never been before. You wear long skirts and the earrings your mother gave you for luck. When you were a child, summer lasted forever, but now you know how precious these days are.

Do all that you can to make it last. Put out bowls of water for the birds in your yard, go to the sea, sit by the shore of a deep blue lake, be grateful for all that you have. Read books in a hammock, leave your shoes at home and go barefoot, collect shells in a dish that you keep by your bedside so that you hear the ocean in your dreams.

By midsummer you no longer remember what was written in that letter you found on your bureau. That’s what happens when you live day by day. You take the paper and the envelope and place them in a bowl. When you pour water over the ink it runs off the page and disappears. It’s summer and you’re starting over. It’s the best time of the year. There’s rosemary growing outside your door. You’ve planted what you know you’ll want in autumn—squash and pumpkins—but don’t rush through the days. Say a blessing for slow afternoons, for Saturdays when you have nothing to do but lie in the grass, for long conversations with your oldest friends. On Midsummer’s Eve open your windows and make a promise to give back to the earth with gratitude for all she has given to you.

Blue skies, the birds in the trees, your own beating heart. That’s all you need.


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Alice Hoffman grew up believing in magic. She’s the author of more than thirty works of fiction, including The Book of Magic, Magic Lessons, The World That We Knew, Practical Magic, The Rules of Magic (a Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick), the Oprah’s Book Club selection Here on Earth, The Red Garden, The Dovekeepers, The Museum of Extraordinary Things, The Marriage of Opposites, and Faithful. Her new novel, The Invisible Hour, will be published in August by Atria Books/Simon & Schuster. She’s written many original fairy tales and pieces on magic and witches for Enchanted Living, including for our 2017 Practical Magic issue. Find out more at