What does summer mean to you?
I idealize the freedom of childhood camp summers I spent running free for two whole months: no homework, no fighting parents, just nature, friends and fun.
We’d all cry when the bus came to take us back to the city and I’d return home sun-kissed and full of memories of laughing in our bunks, our Prell shampoos freezing on the windowsills in the cold upstate NY night air, arts & crafts lanyard key chains, color wars, songs, watching a cow give birth, churning fresh butter straight from the cow, swimming in an icy lake and stargazing at night.
Now camps have paved their dirt paths and installed lamps to light up those paths (forestall those lawsuits!), but the lamplight obscures the stars. Heated and air conditioned cabins provide the comforts of home, but with greater separation from the natural world outside. Back then, a weekly “having a great time” postcard sufficed; nowadays parents can look in on their kids hourly via camp websites and, needless to say, everyone is in constant touch via cellphone.
I guess I’m turning into a first-class curmudgeon! Can’t we go back to the way things were?
I’m afraid that’s not possible. I read that soon we’ll all have microchips inserted under our skin, so Big Brother can ‘protect us’ and track our every move: “Oh, look! There she goes to the kitchen again! What?! Another cup of tea?!” I guess they’ll get bored pretty quickly.
I just took a leap and booked a room on the beach for four days next week to try to recapture some of that freedom of walking out the door and straight into the spirit of summer. Four days feels like an awfully long time; my husband’s complaining: “Two days would’ve been enough!”
How did I used to go away for so long? What am I doing now that’s so important? Why have I put myself on this steady diet of work, with just ‘enough’ break time to be able to keep at it?
Where’s the self-love? My inner child is crying out for more!
I’m rethinking all this as we head into summer. It’s been many years since I’ve been on the academic calendar of summers off. Maybe it’s time to reintroduce that idea into my life.
It seems to me that summer is an invitation, a gift that won’t keep…let’s dive in!
What are your thoughts on summer?
Do you have any plans that make your heart jump for joy?
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