The Two Most Beautiful Words…

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

It’s summer.  And there is endless cheering and reveling in the streets.  The “Happy Dance” has turned maniacal.

As a kid on the farm, summer meant endless hours of fresh air and sunlight.  The sisters and I would build tree forts and make a stash of mud balls that would harden overnight then use them as ammo against enemy vehicles that would drive by.  Good thing the fort was usually built too far away for any sort of bombardment to reach an unassuming driver.  We’d play with the litter of puppies or a batch of kittens that would conveniently be born just in time for the holidays.  Ken and Barbie would see plenty of sunlight as well.  We’d build swimming pools by burying plastic ice cream pails in the dirt and construct beach houses out of leftover 2×4’s and discarded shingles.   We’d go frogging or bird watching at the dugout or ride our bikes to the lake a quarter of a mile away and watch the ducks and geese and swans.

Sure, the parents often had some torturous tasks for us to do.  Picking stones, or picking roots, and sweeping out granaries would, at times, interrupt our summertime bliss, But most of the days would consist of games imaginary or otherwise.

Summer as an adult is different though.  Instead of planning outlets for imagination I find myself filling my days with scheduled tasks.  Sorting and organizing and storing and recycling and cleaning and moving and decluttering.  When did summer become a time for striking chores off a list instead of a time for recharging and healing the body, mind and spirit?  And there are some years where I feel pretty damaged on all three fronts.

Sometimes I wish life had a pause button.  So that when those perfect summer afternoons do come around I can pause, look around and absorb the wonder and thrill that comes with having a couple of hours of time free from the confines of any schedule created by the job that pays or the hyperventilative feeling of obligation that screams “I should be..” some of us are born with .

Yesterday, however, I took a stand against the obnoxious adult responsibility had has crept up and suffocated my creativity and sense of childlike play over the years. I had dates with friends that included creamy spinach dip and raspberry mojitos.  And at one point during the day I ultimately had to interrupt my nap with a golf game.  If I make sure to have a day like this one it will be a summer filled with beautiful summer afternoons indeed.

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