Sunday, September 19, 2010

On Summers Past

As I wrote last week's post about my plans for the Fall, I found myself reflecting on the subject of  "Summer" before putting this one in the past.

When I was a child my summers unrolled like a Judy Bloom novel, with lots of time to play in the woods during the week, chores on Saturday followed by interminable, boring Sundays. Sundays were what made me a book-aholic. I counted the books I read over the summer by the dozen.

All summer long, I'd troll book stores for new Nancy Drew mysteries or other similar books to stock up to take on my family's annual camping vacations in August.  For a three week vacation, I needed a paper grocery sack full of books, which would be supplemented by books I'd buy along the way.

I read almost exclusively library books at home (it was often necessary to make several trips to the library each week) and I stashed away all the books I could afford to buy with my babysitting money to save them for vacation.  (To this day I do not take library books with me when I travel or go to the beach: too much danger of loss or damage, and paying library fines is a humiliating experience for me.)

Even in more recent years, things slowed down a bit in the summer.  Certain committees did not meet over the summer.  With school out, after-school activities were suspended.  I had time to curl up and read or even do absolutely nothing at least a little while every day.

Lately, all that has changed.  This summer, nothing slowed down! I had to steal time from work and from writing in order to make time for relaxing. In fact, that's a big reason I took a break from writing. I needed to slow down.

That strikes me as cosmically wrong!  Humans need time to sit and think, dream and plan, hope and pray.  Without that down-time I fear that we're turning into the kind of robot-like people in the movie Soylent Green going through life doing what we're told without asking questions -- to our detriment.

I am trying to resume writing on a regular schedule, but I also want to try to maintain some balance between work (both the work I do in my day job for money and my writing which is work I do for the good of my soul) and relaxation.

Time will tell if I can pull that off.  If I do, I should write a non-fiction book about how to do it.

In the meantime, I enjoyed this summer at the beach, despite the turmoil in my life that brought me to this place. My summer was a healing time devoted to the true meaning of recreation: recreating a new life from the shards of the old one, and patching it all together with new dreams and new plans.

And so I put my glorious summer of long beach walks in the evenings behind me and look forward to the fall and winter when my walks will be confined to the weekends or the occasional vacation day, but they will be all the more precious for the decrease in frequency.  It seems odd to say, given all the drama in my life this year, but this was a really good summer.

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