In the summer, the tempo of our days do not unravel like short staccato notes, but linger, enough that we can remain a little longer in the same moment. In the mornings, I am not begging my daughter to wake from her slumber, but instead I watch her sleep. She breathes slow, curled up on her side and a Mona Lisa smile appears on her face. My gaze is fixed, swallowing this scene out of my life, a mother experiencing the seasons shift.
My thoughts are interrupted by the glint of light that acts as voyeur into my life. I slide my fingers in-between the wooden blinds and peek outside. The clouds form various white streaks across the sky. Heat penetrates the window as the desert sun shines like a king sitting on his throne. I know this heat. I decide to step outside where a hot sizzle runs across my skin. A grey lizard scurries across the brown pavers and hides in the bushes and awaits his next move. There is an undeniable stillness. Because the heat hits triple digits everyday, people tend to take refuge in their homes.
The days are unscripted. In the morning, I am not in “rush to school mode.” No lunch to pack or backpack to check or last-minute reminders on whether homework is ready to turn into the teacher. The pace is different. My daughter sleeps in. This extra time allows some additional time for writing or sipping my favorite blend of coffee more deliberately. There isn’t the constant question of asking what’s next, but instead the day takes on a natural order, minus the interruptions of a preplanned schedule.
Since the heat precludes us from running errands or filling our time with self-created “busy,” there is more time to enjoy simplicity. We pull out our favorite books and read under the covers. Some evenings we have family night, where a movie and popcorn are the only things on our to-do lists. Interspersed between those slices there are bursts of laughter, impromptu dancing and jokes that make only sense to us.
There is something else, too. When the summer sun sets and the temperature drops, I lace on my shoes and go for a walk or a nighttime jog. It is a different feeling running in the dark. The sky takes on a golden hue, while the cacti form an outline across the desert plain. With each step, the sun falls behind the mountains and another day dissipates behind the horizon.
My breath slows down. I hear my shoes land on the pavement, while I catch the rustle of the rabbit moving through the trees. My thoughts quiet and for a minute, my mind is blank. This is what it feel likes to give permission to live in the moment. Is the summer slowdown a catalyst for this new mindfulness? And will I be able to maintain this cadence when the season shifts again? The point of mindfulness is to achieve this blank slate during all times.
As I round the corner, I slow my pace and walk up my driveway. The lamps from the street shine their fluorescent lights on my skin. I look up; the sun is setting, the air is filled with smells of curry and barbecue from the outdoor kitchens that surround our home. I sigh. I take a breath. This season’s goody bag is one I hope I can keep in the fall.
Summer slowdown. It shouldn’t happen just once a year, but in all the seasons of our lives.
Image: Arizona Sunset by Jeff Shewan via Flickr
Parts of this piece first appeared on The First Day
Aren’t those peaceful summer mornings wonderful? No running around like crazy people. Enjoy!
Thanks, Kitch. I hope you are relaxing with your minxes! xo
This is absolutely beautiful, Rudri. I can see, feel, hear and almost taste your lyrical descriptions. Summer is the time to linger and slow down, to watch sleeping children and hopefully enjoy morning coffee longer than usual.
Thanks, Dana. The pace of summer and paying attention to the sounds and sights served as my inspiration for this post. I hope you are enjoying some of the slowdown too! xo
Well, now I definitely want to slow down after reading this. It’s like a cleansing sigh, your words. I feel like I’m rushing like mad in these last weeks of school (last day here is 6/26), but I am most definitely looking forward to what you describe here. Really lovely. (Also, so uncanny: both you and Dina used the word “staccato” this week, and I submitted a short story last week that used the same word–I love when that kind of thing happens.)
We’ve been enjoying summer break since May 13, so we are in the full swing of the slowdown.
“Staccato” – must be a sign, friend. Hope this means another byline for you. xo
I used to love that my children were deliciously mine from the last school bell in June till the snap close of the screen door as they headed out with backpacks in September. Love your sizzling summer reverie.
Thank, Barb. I know in the future I will mourn the rhythm of these days, but for now, I am relishing every moment.
Sounds like you are having a beautiful summer…savor the season!
I intend to enjoy every minute.
How I love this blog. So glad I discovered it. Your writing is beautiful and your words are so wise.
I am so glad that my words resonated with you.
Rudri, you’re blessed to have this slow time. You well deserve it after this past year. It’s good to have a season where you can count on it. I am not on a seasonal schedule, so never have any slow time scheduled in.
Yes, Luanne, I realize this time is precious and I understand not to take it for granted. I hope you get to steal some moments of slowness for yourself.
I agree. It should happen in all seasons of our lives.
We’re still in school for two more weeks but I can’t wait to let Scarlet sleep in. It is nice that we have weekends all year round because they show us that possibility.. And I like it.
Once summer time arrives, I know you will enjoy small pleasures with Scarlet and Des. Here’s to a fun and restful season!