I’m always waiting. I wait for blizzards to end in January, the last of the snow to melt in February, spring in March, warmer temperatures in April and finally I see signs of summer in May. Summer is here! So I wait six months to enjoy three months of summer busyness. And I also wait for something else–to make a to-do list of activities. Admittedly, I think procrastination shields me from realizing that I won’t get to anything on my list. I go through this every summer.
After the Memorial Day holiday, I’m willy-nilly with excitement because summer weeks are wide open, blessing freedom to pack in all that my city and neighborhoods offer and enjoy the fruits of my experiences. Headlines pop up, from social media trends to conversation topics, “Things you must do during summer,” or “Your Summer Checklist.” Soon, August is here and I haven’t done a darn thing worth a check mark on a want-to-be to-do list. Once Memorial Day weekend comes to a close, until Labor Day, the summer becomes a slip ‘n slide at the water park. So from the start of June to the end of August I traverse turns and inclines and suddenly hit the end of the ride, end of summer.
Participating in activities can be overwhelming with the pressure to do, to travel, to vacation. Adding a to-do attachment to an ongoing list is adding insult to injury.
But suppose I look at it another way. Instead of feeling the pressure to conquer a summer activities list, or compete with one suggested by others, I think of my list as not one with many items, but one with just a single to-do, and that is, to connect.
Numbing winter winds and snowy landscapes once kept me feeling heavy as the gray skies above hung low. And then when summer arrives, a blue blanket overhead, warm breezes, hot gusts of wind recharge and reward. In simplistic and covert ways, I connect through my senses, tasting creamy frigid ice cream, touching velvet flower petals in the garden, smelling and mingling of lake water and sunscreen, and hearing the crescendo of a symphony playing outdoors.
These connections are from memories long ago, yet now new, staged in a different time and place. Tasting a root beer float now takes me back to my grade school days when sipping ice cream drinks always tasted better with a circle of best friends sitting around me. Sitting outside, anywhere, after dinner instead of turning on the television invites stillness, slowing time, a gift to witness a sunset, a cooling of the air, and the eruption of cicadas or tree frogs and crickets singing in clamorous unison. We connect with memories drawn from years ago to live in the present moments.
Perhaps it is a pause to just be, where summer activities are not required for checklists but rather to engage in meditation in just being.