…by Julie Clark Robinson

“Summer afternoon – summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” –Henry James

When
I think of summertime, I hear a lazy, engaging lyric taunt me with
“…and the livin\’s easy…” But then reality hits and I realize I needed
to be somewhere five minutes ago and I can\’t find my car keys. Maybe
George Gershwin enjoyed some easy living in the summers of the mid
1930\’s, but my BlackBerry™ is beeping and I\’ll have to obsess about
that later.

Or not. Do I really want to go through the motions of
another summer without feeling simple, light-hearted,
I\’m-going-to-watch-this- butterfly-until-I-can\’t-see-it-anymore kind of
joy? No I don\’t. I want to gaze into the night sky and be able to make
out more than just the big dipper. I want to sit on my porch long
enough to get to that wonderful, enlightening place that is just beyond
bored.

If you\’re like the rest of us in this multitasking
millennium, you\’ve been on the move for so long you probably have no
idea how rewarding boredom can be. But after much trial and error, I\’ve
recently learned that if I give myself the time to just sit for a
while, the first thing that happens is that my senses kick in and
reward me for my trouble. Already this summer, I\’ve taken the time to
enjoy the long-forgotten duet of bugs (do crickets sing during the
day?) and birds. My Homedics™ sound machine can catch a break for a
while. Next, the eyes start to provide little treasures. What a busy
person sees as a shrub that needs trimming – with just a little time to
focus – can offer an artfully woven spider web glistening in the
sunlight.

This summer, I\’m challenging myself to clear my
calendar as much as possible for a person with a young family, a career
and an almost college-like enthusiasm for hanging out with friends. I
don\’t want this summer to become the blur that is every summer that I
can remember since I was about ten.Before I let my adult version of the
back-to-school mentality take over again around Labor Day, I want to be
completely reacquainted with what “livin\’ easy” feels like. And since I
don\’t want to be the only adult sitting around staring at bugs, dare I
hope that you do, too?

Action Exercise:
Perch in your favorite outdoor sitting spot (if you don\’t have one,
create one!). Don\’t take anything to distract you, no magazines, no
mail to sort through. Okay, take some ice tea or something…you\’re going
to be there a while. Notice things. How do the bird cries differ from
one another? Are ants marching in a line or is it tiny mosh pit? Which
cloud do you enjoy the most? If you focus on cement long enough, are
there tiny particles that glisten in the sunlight? Are the blades of
grass perfect or splintered from the lawn mower? How far away can you
hear? Is there a dog barking a few blocks away? A siren? A
single-engine airplane? This is the essence of summer.