I put the computer away today, just closed the lid of the laptop and stowed it on my old desk. It’s time to remember how to concentrate, it’s time to remember how to focus, it’s time to summer the days.
So the summer solstice has passed and it’s Saturday night, it’ll be light until even the grown-ups go to bed. The past couple of years, we’ve accidentally established out a little family tradition of grilling on Saturday nights in the summer months. I throw an old cotton tablecloth I found in the bargain bin at the vintage shop onto our plexiglass deck table. We drink cheap wine and good beer while the tinies chug iced tea or water. Brian throws a few hot dogs on the barbeque for the tinies beside our more grown-up fare. We’ve given up on trying to make everyone eat the same thing, whatever, man, it’s fine, it always is eventually.
Tonight, Brian cleaned up the supper dishes while I bathed all the tinies for church tomorrow. Anne lost another tooth tonight: she looks like a real kid now to me, all gap toothed and grinning, lanky and laced with sunshine. So I bathed them all with baby soap, and then sopped up the water on the floor with a worn out towel from our wedding registry a dozen years ago. We read our bedtime stories out loud and we talked about the summer reading club. Evelynn’s hair spun into ringlets, and her eyes were drowsy before the sun had begun to sink. Joseph is already as brown as a bean, lithe as a boy in summer and his skin is always warm. I love to run my hands on his smooth back because he arches into my hands and nearly purrs with relief at being touched, he’s his daddy’s boy all right.
I’m tired of being tired. I’m tired of being everywhere and nowhere. Multi-tasking is a myth: I’ve ended up doing everything at once and nothing well, and I think in pithy status updates instead of real thoughts. I sat down to watch a movie earlier and I couldn’t do it: two hours is too long to sit still without doing something, anything, everything all at once, too. My head feels full of noise and chatter and opinions, pouncing from thought to thought without rest.
I remember how an afternoon could pass in such a lazy way when I was that gap-toothed kid with sunshine in her hair, a day passing a slow never-ending way of sunshine and wandering, how minutes blurred into hours, and it was just the way of things, a quieter mind somehow. I miss the meandering, I miss the laying down and watching the sky, I miss picking up a book and finishing it without wanting to check my email. I miss creating and dozing and watching the world for a few moments. I miss arching my back into someone’s touch, and I miss the ache of muscles after good play.
Now I’m sitting outside on my back patio. The early summer light is that tired and satisfied light, the golden of a day passing. The tinies are asleep in their bed, their damp clean hair pressed into their pillows, and my feet are up. I just read a magazine, a ridiculous glossy magazine with summer recipes and picnic ideas and it made me happy. I went from one cover all the way to the other cover, dog-earing pages for recipes I probably won’t ever make and paint colours we’re contemplating for the washrooms.
The bats are swooping in the trees. We live on the edge of a forest, and I never noticed before – did you notice this? – the way that the light falls through the trees in the setting of the day and how little corners of the forest light up, as if lit from within among all the shadows. There, just a bit north and to the west, see how the leaves have caught the light and are glowing green right in the middle of the forest somehow, while the shadows gather? I think I’ll shutter the laptop for a few hours every day, turn off the noises, open the windows. Maybe I’ll turn again to tall glasses of water, and evenings outside, listening to the creek while the blackberries ripen over June. I need relearn how to summer the days again, and how to watch for the gathering light, this isn’t the stuff of multi-tasking.