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.

 

 

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  • Mandy

    Beautiful. Just beautiful.

  • I JUST LOVE THIS.

  • So beautiful. I can relate to being tired of being tired. Praying I will experience a summer slow down, although it’s tricky because I work full time. 🙂

  • karen huber

    whenever I feel like I have nothing to say, like I have no more words to give, and even if I did, no one would want to read them, I come over here… and your words say, no, keep going. Your words tell me to write and I’m so, so thankful for that. And for this. I hope for it, too.

  • hopejem

    That my friend is inspiration dripping with wisdom. Thank you for sharing it.

  • Sarah Graw

    very well put. my feelings exactly!timeto turn off the electronical world and focus!!

  • yeah. we all need to be shuttering the laptop. kudos to you for doing it.

  • I love your style, and the rhythms of your writing. It’s very soothing, and like poetry, as, of course, you know:-). You are, currently, my favourite blogger!

  • sacwriter

    I saw what you did there….using “summer” as a verb…a little bit like “simmer”? I recommend two books in your quest this summer (one old, one new): “When I Relax I Feel Guilty” by Tim Hansel and “The Shallows” by Nicholas Carr. The first will help you summer more fully, the second will make you more reluctant to return to the laptop.

  • Indeed. Literally. Let’s do it.

  • Yes times a million. I felt exactly the same way and have taken the entire month of June off from blogging and other work. It has been sadly difficult to get to a place of being able to sit quietly, enjoying the slow pace of summer, but I’m getting there. Which means I might just have to take July off too…

  • This is the gift of summer. It slows us and simultaneously awakes us. It calls us – or me, at least – to remember what living really is.

  • Oh yes, let’s take back summer.

  • mom_interrupted

    “I think in pithy status updates instead of real thoughts” – oh girl, you caught me there. More please.

  • Early winter here but your post made me close my eyes and hear the cicadas in our forest, laughing children spinning on their see-saw which ignores all safety standards, lounging on my garden swing, a cold sav in one hand and Nicky Pellegrino in the other, steaks sizzling on the grill. Thank you Sarah. Closing my eyes again now…

  • SmallMomentsBigJoy

    I love the Saturday night cooking out tradition. We need to get back to doing that.

  • This is gorgeous writing Sarah. I am inspired to sit and enjoy this summer month and especially the sunsets… I also am inspired to grill and live by the forest, but alas! I live in the middle of a city that never really sleeps and grilling requires a grill…. and we have none yet 🙂

    I hope you take time to put away the laptop and simply enjoy God’s gift of the outdoors, but selfishly I want you to spend time at your laptop too (so I can keep reading your wonderful writing!).

    Thanks for this.

  • Yes. Exactly.

  • Vicki

    This is beautiful and spoke to right where my heart is right now.

  • fiona lynne

    Yes. This. I too need to learn how to summer the days.

  • Yep.

  • It’s true. You do need it. And you deserve it. And will take a little radical rebellion to get it. Go, lady. Drink your summer cup.

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