A friend and I were out for walk on one of the very first hot days of the summer season. As we walked, we reminisced about really great summers we've had. Some of the summers that linger in my memory are the summers I did not necessarily do a lot that was exciting, but rather were times when I was able to fully respond to the moment. The summer I got married, I moved back from the west coast and spent the summer picking berries, making jam and wedding invitations and swimming at the beach in between. Another summer, we moved to an apartment in the city with just one bag each containing only just enough clothes and toy and books to keep us going all summer.
The common denominator, of course, was simplicity. Everything was boiled down. There was less stuff to keep track of and maintain. The time we saved by not being absorbed by all the stuff, that seems to bog me down now, we put to good use. Those precious summer days were savoured because I put myself in a position to just walk out the front door and do something meaningful.
As this summer approaches, I am consumed by making multiple, overlapping plans. The unrelenting search for cheap and interesting summer camps threatens to sabotage the promise of listless summer vacation afternoons I remember so fondly from childhood. Of course, I need to work and they need to be occupied, so I can do that work (so that I can pay for the camps), but how can I infuse into the process a spirit that does not dilute the possibilities summer, left to its own devices, can generate?
My friend said, wouldn't it be great to just have a summer suitcase?
A summer suitcase could be a bag in the trunk or by the front door that contains just a pair of underwear, a bathing suit and a towel and leave it at that.
Pare it all down and see what happens.
Ever since that conversation, I can't stop thinking about it.
Instead of getting overwhelmed by the plans I need to make to keep the kids going (and cared for) all summer, perhaps I should make more effort to empty the calendar and let plans make and unmake themselves a little more often.