Instructions for living a life. Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.
– Mary Oliver
Summer has us in its full embrace. The traffic is lighter, the beaches are less crowded and the humidity is soaring.
This is the quieter part of the year in South Florida. Schools are out making the daily commute less congested. Snowbirds are back north making parking at the beach easier. The sounds come from kids splashing about in backyard pools rather than school buses rumbling at the corner.
In the evening I go out on the patio to read and enjoy the gentle breeze blowing through the palm trees.
I’ve had to ink a few dates on the calendar for later this summer but I’m trying to write more in pencil this month. I’m aiming for empty spaces on the calendar.
Routines and schedules provide parameters for me. They give me the structure I need. Too often I feel like I’ve wasted time when I try to ‘wing it’. Is it wasting time to email friends, read a book, or daydream? Surely it’s not but it just doesn’t feel productive. Because, obviously, folding laundry and sweeping floors are more constructive than nurturing friendships. I get caught in this lie too often.
Our bed will always be made in the morning and our clothes taken out of the dryer and put away because that’s part of who I am.
Maybe I need to write on the calendar: Pay attention; watch for the little moments.
A co-worker and I were taking our morning walk around the perimeter of the property that sits on a busy 6 lane street. It’s a hub of activity with traffic whirring by and usually a few folks at the bus stop. As we neared the corner she calls out, “Is that a turkey?” I looked to see a peacock crossing this busy street. I’m not sure how it made it safely but when I last saw it, she was pecking at pebbles on the side street.
We didn’t spot a celebrity or see an extraordinary act of courage. Just a moment out of the ordinary. Something different that caught our eye and made us smile.
Maybe we should play that child’s game with ourselves: I spy with my little eye…
Summer has slowed. It’s time to pay attention.
It’s time to say no more to the ink and yes to more pencil, even using the eraser giving ourselves permission to go slow.
Look around. Listen. Dream. It’s summertime.