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First, you step on an acorn...
Living your best summer in a few short steps.
Well, it’s here…list season. That time of year when every social media influencer realizes that they only have one more week to squeeze in an entire summer before that unofficial end of wearing white weekend, Labor Day, has arrived. They go a little like this…
10 Ways to Savor the Last Days of Summer
15 Places to See Before Labor Day
20 of the Best Garden Meals to End the Summer
25 Ways to Capture The Last Days of Summer
There’s Still Time to Prove to Your Kids and Instagram That You Rock (OK, I made this one up)
I have discovered more ways to Carpe the final Diem of summer than I can shake a s’more stick at. I think it’s sweet that they want to ensure I am able to savor an entire summer of experiences before it’s time to pack up the camp stools and cornhole boards. Here are some great suggestions:
Drive with the windows down, allergies be damned
Watch a sunset
Stage an impromptu family picnic (I like this one because a real family picnic is terribly messy and, mostly, unphotogenic. Nobody wants to see pictures of Grandpa drunk on a trampoline)
Dance, Dance, Dance
and on, and on….
A few days back I said to my husband, “We sat on the deck with a glass of wine exactly once this summer”. I am sad to say that this is no exaggeration. In summers past we have lingered under the deck lights, sipping wine, talking about not much and truly enjoyed the nothingness of it. The art of just sitting around is underrated. This realization made me want to hard carpe my own diem and I decided to curate a moment to make sure I got the most out of this summer.
I put on my flowiest white dress, poured myself a glass of great wine and, at twilight, danced barefoot onto the deck accompanied by my favorite summer tunes. Then stepped on an acorn(those suckers can be sharp!), twisted my ankle, spilled that great wine all over said flowy white dress, noticed my plants all needed water and were now, most likely, laughing at me in their raspy, dry little voices, and put that period at the end of summer. This is real life.
When we become convinced that the unreal is real we lose sight of the truth of real life-the sacrality of daily life. The beauty of a life lived is that it is filled with simple moments, largely undocumented, but accumulated over time to become unexpected memories, intimate and timeless. Not all of those memories will be good, but who ever said everything would be perfectly curated, choreographed, and unblemished. It is too easy to fall into the false belief that our worlds really look like what we see online-and that it is what they ‘should’ look like. We are being sold a bill of goods and we are begging for it in five, ten, and fifteen second increments. I wish I could say I was immune to wanting my life to look like, well, those lives, but it doesn’t and it won’t. Not without sacrificing something of myself in the process.
Watching all these beautiful images race by as I scroll through my feed, I become increasingly dissatisfied with my own world. I have also discovered that the more I flip through news, social feeds, articles for this or that, emails with rabbit hole links, I lose life. I literally lose time. I have also trained myself to become agitated at interruptions to that ‘time’. The time we spend online, on our phones, is irretrievable and I have taken to asking myself if I need to be looking at whatever it is I am looking at. Most times the answer is no. And then I look up, see the sun painting the old maple tree, the tree toad snugged into a new hiding place-one where the grandkids won’t find him and I won’t tell, and remember that the world at large is not the interruption, it is the other way around.
I won’t pretend I have an answer, or the perfect scripture quote that would point the right direction-all I have is life in the midst of living and a growing awareness that my distracted mind is much of my own creating. There are necessary and essential things that need attention, but I am learning to decipher, or discern the difference between those and the urgent-the things that call out to us from all corners to pay attention, NOW, or you’ll miss out, you won’t be in the know, you won’t have_______ fill in the blank. Necessary and essential things like caring and kindness, phone calls and letters, clean underwear, fresh water, equity and safety, homegrown veg, hugs, healthy food, healthcare, and compassion should never be a distraction. Should never be polarizing. Maybe we need to build better platforms…
OK, before this becomes too unwieldy I’ll share a poem I posted over on Insta (yes, just rolled my eyes as I typed that…guilty as charged). I am working on my distraction, attempting to wrench it back and refocus a little. This piece is, like my others here, in process but I am sharing it anyway—
...What did Fibonacci Know?
It was only one
Thought, simple really,
Casual, dismissive a reaction
This fraction of distraction,
dust on the mantle,
A spider, there in a corner,
Lines uneven, and the birds
Too loud outside
The door, lights too bright
Like the sun, dial turned to high,
A flick at the edge of
Vision, only a chickadee, nothing
So miraculous anymore, just
Another flower, nothing special
To sequence a rhythm, two before
Added to the next, and on, and on,
I didn't know enough, one
To let go, plus two to let go
Of what I was holding to,
Three, so tightly an order,
that five, and eight, equal
Nothing special, check my email,
Thirteen, no miracle, I didn't fall
All together, it's twenty-one,
Likes and messages, damn those birds, thirty-four of them,
Then fifty-five minutes, no
Mentions, so fall
I did, and on,
What are your own distractions? We all have very necessary interruptions in our lives-people, or things, that truly need our attention, but what is it that plants a thorn of resentment towards those interruptions, that lead us to believe that those interruptions are the real distractions? I’m working on ‘reprogramming’ -or maybe un-programming would be a better description-and sincerely hoping that my husband and I can spend more nights on the deck, even if we have to wear parkas to do it!
If you made it all the way to the end, thank you…
until next time,