Summer is slippery. It crashes onto the shore and sweeps us away in a wave of enthusiasm and ambitious plans, then slowly ebbs away and leaves us dry and thirsty. This summer I swam and played in the early surf, made sandcastles and explored tidepools in the low tide, but still somehow am left wondering about what didn't happen.
Every year I fool myself that summer will be a time of family outings with other families, lazy all-day get-togethers and impromptu "let's camp out tonight" phone calls. There certainly was some lovely time together with lovely people, but in general the first month was all about hunkering down with the kids and the land, and the second month was all about camping and reno's and No Time To Enjoy All This Time.
The tree-fort once again didn't happen - 3rd year in a row. Sleeping with the kids in a tent on our land didn't happen. Fishing with the brand new fishing gear and license was Day One of summer then never again except on camping trips. The kids' "School-Year-In-Review" book is still unwritten, and photo album still unmade. Even that roll of kite-paper I bought the boys as a summer project hasn't even been given to them.
That list of Misses could go on, but much better to focus on what did happen. Late-June & July were glorious months. Kids had a few multi-day trips with Grandma and Uncle Dave so Sarah and I could get organized, do some deep house cleaning/revisioning, and enjoy. In between, we had plenty of energy to spend long hours playing soccer, gardening together, just enjoying functioning as a family. If we didn't pick up the phone to invite folks over, or jump in the car to the next swimming hole, it was because we were getting what we needed right here; in fact, being right here together was exactly what we all needed.
No need to hurry. Slow mornings with breakfast when we felt like it, no lunches to pack, no dress codes to measure by. No social pressures either, just rolling with whomever or whatever rolled up the driveway. No plans often, just creating a day or a week as it unfolded. We still Did plenty, but rarely did it feel programmed or forced or Too Much.
August was the Cram-Too-Much-Summer-In month. Two amazing camping trips and a splendid week with the visiting inlaws meant that the in between times were intensive long-hour workdays on the cabin bedroom extension to keep it on schedule. Those lazy hazy crazy days of summer became just crazy. A hands-on natural building project that really should have been a full-time job was instead crammed between the fun summer stuff I'd promised myself and the boys. Professionally, I could only do what was needed to do a good job with my existing clients but nothing toward building up new clientele. Even the beloved, nourishing, life-giving garden was increasingly relinquished to Wwoofers.
And now it's Sept.1 and my kids are back with Grandma until Sunday, so I can only plan a fun Last Day of Summer outing on Monday then we're back to routine, to outside responsibilities, to other people's demands and needs. There will be blessings to that, of course, and the return to friends and familiarity and community will be a Joy, but for now I just need some time to shake my head at what didn't happen, and to celebrate what gloriously did.
Write to Renew - One of our previous graduates, the talented Jay Nahani, is leading us in a Write to Renew workshop June 14th. For writers and non-writers alike, this one-d...