June 11, 2013

Thoughts on Summer from Pablo Neruda

As a child, summer was something that felt so official. School books were put away, desks cleaned out, teacher gifts distributed. There was never any question whether summer had begun because once school came to an end, we knew it had arrived. 

This carried over with me into adulthood on some level because for a time I was a student in college and even after that, I worked in a college environment where there was a distinct separation from the school term and the summer. Our work slowed down. There were long lists of summer projects to complete. It had a certain feeling of relaxation to it, even though the workdays were the same. 

Now that I'm part of the real world...summer feels somewhat more vague. June is here, but it isn't officially summer. Each day comes and goes. Work must be done no differently than the rest of the year. But still I long for a feeling of summer that I fear will not materialize. I worry that summer will zip past and I won't have anything to show for it. 

I've always been terribly prone to missing the moment at hand because I'm thinking about or living for the next moment. Are you guilty of this? I don't want to miss the best parts of summer because I'm always looking ahead to the next thing. 

Today I drove down the street with the windows down. A John Mellencamp song came on the radio and I turned it way up. I sang along. My dog stuck his head out the window. We went through a drive-thru and I got a lemonade. It wasn't anything special, but then again maybe it was. These are the moments I always seem to miss because I'm looking for the next moment. I don't want to do that anymore. I want to understand what it means to live in the moment. 

I'm hoping this summer I can get lots of practice.