Ah, the Endless Summer.

The concept originated with a 1966 surfing documentary of the same name. Two surfers followed summer around the globe going from one hemisphere to the other while living a life of finding fun. Even for those of us who did not see the film or catch a view of the iconic movie poster, the title alone filled our imagination.

You remember the endless summer: it happened sometime in early high school years. It was exclusively the realm of youth. You do remember youth: it’s what you gradually lost as you took on that insidious burden of making a living and responsibility, the diluent of youth.

The endless summer was different things to different people. It may have been the summer of new romance where a nightly two-mile walk to see someone you couldn’t stop thinking about was not any effort at all. It may have included drives out to the lake to paddle and fish, hikes up the bluffs and swimming in the pond at an out-of-the-way swimming hole. There may have been lazy walks through the meadows collecting summer flowers or gathering cattails along the roadside ditches. Hours were whiled away at the beach. There was always time to visit those relatives on the farm and for camping under the stars.

You would sleep-in, sometimes past noon, and still the days were extra-long. There were bike rides to nowhere in particular and back again. Gardening meant walking into the garden and snacking on freshly plucked tomatoes, strawberries and snap peas. If you wanted to read, there were no assigned books and no deadlines or reports to submit. You and your friends also owned the night, when the adults would settle in and leave the night to whomever dared claim it, and we did.

Spending lots of time with friends who also had nothing better to do than share our aimlessness was perfectly acceptable. There was time to absorb the music of our youth, music that would be with us the rest of our lives.

Summers were part of the Magical Mystery Tour when School’s Out for Summer. The Boys of Summer spent Summer in the City. We had Hot Fun in the Summertime finding ourselves Under the Boardwalk or Up on the Roof.

We were too young to vote, not old enough to be drafted into the military and not so much aware of the bigger world to worry about politics and controversy. All this and free food and lodging too.

This all happened because we had nothing pressing to do and, in general, because we came from relatively prosperous families. We were the lucky ones who weren’t mired in poverty. There were no serious responsibilities: walk the dog, dry the dishes, clean your plate . . . nothing too taxing; no homework, no schedule, no bills, no court dates. The endless summer was the product of living the typically White, middle-class, privileged life in America. I, for one, didn’t know any better. In my universe no one was suffering and to be oppressed only meant you had homework due. We were fortunate and blessed with blindness to anything disturbing or any situation more than five miles distant.

As we got older, the endless summer shortened.

Today, summer comes and goes in a flash even though we have endless political chaos, ’round-the-clock civil unrest, a runaway pandemic, record heat waves, unprecedented wildfires, major storms and all manner of natural and man-made disasters. Our summer music festivals have been canceled. We may even witness the beginning of a truly endless-but-dismal summer where global warming instead of the calendar determines the seasons. All of this is most certainly connected and we can say the common thread may be selfish and poor choices humanity has made along the way.

Our eyes are now open and time is short. We make choices all the time: the people we elect, the cars we drive, the waste we create, the foods we eat. These choices have a reverberating effect around the globe. If we want the human race to prosper and even continue, we have to make choices that don’t take advantage of the poor, the disadvantaged and the oppressed anywhere in the world, choices that benefit the entire world environment, all of humankind and not just our personal lifestyle.

All of humanity deserves to have endless summers. If all of us can’t enjoy it, ultimately none of us will.