Monday, May 28, 2007

Summer (time)

I spent the weekend away from the computer, checking in for only 5 or 10 minutes each day. In so many ways, the weekend truly was a kick-off for the summer. I spent as much time as possible outside, digging in the garden, sitting on the deck, wandering around Day 142: Deck chairs-springthe yard. And the weather was perfect. Hot during the day followed by a thunderstorm that cooled the night. I remember summer as the most wonderful time of the year. A time when the days dragged out forever. As kids, we played spotlight into the night, ending with kool-aid and watermelon. During the day, we lounged by the pool or lake. We had nothing better to do than drink in the sun, read books and magazines, eat french fries and milkshakes.

As an adult, the days are different. There is no long summer break. I trudge off to work every day, unable to simply let the day unfold as it may, to just wait and see what will happen next. But the days still have that quality of lazy possibility about them. It seems possible to let the day unfold, to see what will happen next. It seems possible that, for a time, the world might spin a little slower, that time will expand and let just one more thought, one more activity squeeze in before we collapse, exhausted, into bed.

White slugI moved slowly this weekend, more slowly than normal. Usually, I'm trying to cram in everything and I'm anxious to get laundry and tasks done so I don't have to try to squeeze them in during the week. I tend to rush around and when I'm not rushing, my brain is definitely rushing, thinking about all that needs to be done, things to be written down. I worked a lot in the garden this weekend. I'm not what I would call a gardener. I'm lazy about it. I don't prepare the soil as well as I should. I pick plants that grow without much need for care. I've been working on my garden for about three years now. It's been a slow process, but one I am beginning to appreciate. Sure, I could have a landscaper come in a do all kinds of work for me and my garden would probably look much better than it does, but I like that I've done all the work myself. I like that I brought a decades old azalea back to life and that I know where its roots run. I like that I've watched tiny shrubs grow and watched the rhododendron bloom for the first time. As I was digging another area to prepare for planting (in my usual lazy way), I thought about how long the soil had been there and thought about the layers. I only dug a couple of feet. I knew it must look really different further down. And I thought about the roots and how long they had been there and how intertwined and connected they were.

What I thought a lot about, what I let swirl around me without thinking about it too much either, was time. I tried to give myself some time to breathe, to just be. But I also thought about how it takes time for change to occur, for any kind of building or growth to occur, like the soil, layer upon layer or my shrubs slow but steady growth. We can certainly spur things on--like I sometimes do in my garden--by doing certain things, but sometimes we have to sit back for a bit and take some time--to think, to rethink, or to let things happen.