My reasonable summer plan in April is to reorganize my life: out of shape, apartment a mess, and time for healthier eating habits. I plan to reconnect with my yoga practice and pencil in a week-long workshop for June in DC. With a local stay, I still can juggle my office work, somehow. Instead I go to France with my family. I disconnect (mostly) from the office; they forget about me too (I think). We look at mountains, blue skies, lavender fields, small ancient cities and listen to talk I do not understand but know. We walk, eat, drink and stay up late looking starry nights. Days go by. We laugh hard and cannot think why, later. Friends ask me to dinner. I message back: Away, far away – next time.
I return but soon depart for the Family Reunion in New England. We hike, eat, drink and go to bed early, worn out with laughing and playing. Time blurs into ceaseless meal preparation, a swirl of voices, children calling, aging faces, blazing sunshine, ripe berries, a splashing pool. Who is arriving now, let’s take a photo, where are we re-uniting next year? More calls: where are you? Still away; be in touch soon. An old love sends a few texts. Why now I wonder and don’t ask.
Home at last. Much work to do, lists to check, issues loom at the office. But I’ve been away, my post-vacation eyes view the summer agenda and I think “not so urgent”. I reconnect. Friends are coping with aging parents, sending children to college. Another contemplates moving back home; we laugh when he says he might not – family first, always. I learn another is leaving my industry after almost two decades – and suddenly, summer’s purpose is clear for me.
Time for change, to see what has served a purpose and let it go, and to gather the meaningful very close. I restart my summer.
Piles of things to donate grow, surfaces reappear. Calls from the past go unanswered; nothing new to learn. Daily irritations stop being so; other things are more pressing. I get on my yoga mat, embrace practice, try hard-for-me poses and challenge students with new poses, hold foundational poses over and over. I draft my resume and explore possibilities for my next chapter, my next season.
Another family weekend away. A bittersweet event, gathering people and choices not everyone has embraced yet. We all are together though.
The reward unrolls in beautiful days together: my father and a young nephew both talk to me at once, in each ear, as we stroll. Everyone needs attention; do I listen enough? Adults smile as children laugh and race, all enjoying each other and the moment. Perfect weekend; let’s do it again.
“What Summer Does”: Summer gives me beautiful healing escapes from the daily habit of life; Summer gives me time to spend simply listening, seeing and being present; Summer re-energizes me for saying yes to family and friends, for learning, for ease in time on the mat and with students, for laughter, for conversations, questions and answers; Summer reminds me to get outside and seek the company of others; Summer gives me grounding to do what is joyful and loving and necessary, for saying yes – I am here; Summer – a light-filled lovely journey to my next season; ummer - a living practice.