Jul 01, 2012 08:37PM
Ahhh… how summertime beckons our inner kid out into the great outdoors for healthy doses of play. If you’re lucky like me, your childhood provided lots of great opportunities to do summer up right!
Every year during my growing-up years, well before the Fourth of July arrived, my parents had transported their eight rambunctious kids to the family’s lake cottage a few hours away, the station wagon packed to the gills with suitcases. There, we eagerly dove in, swam, boated, floated and barbequed all summer long, with Dad commuting from work on weekends.
When it rained, we cozied up inside to hold coloring contests and play Candy Land, Monopoly and all sorts of card games. Inside or out, we let our imaginations run wild. It helped that our fun-loving parents enjoyed life and company and welcomed oodles of relatives and friends to join us and add to the fun.
Evenings brought campfires on cool evenings or skinny dips on hot sticky nights. We would typically end the day on the dock, watching shooting stars tumble across the deep blackness overhead. It was heaven in those days… and still is. I always look forward to packing up my bags to venture north again to my home away from home.
Perhaps what I cherish most is how simple and uncomplicated life seemed then. We could spend hours taking turns just pushing and spinning each other on the long rope swing down by the lake. Such joys relentlessly captured our attention; a far better occupation, to my way of thinking, than being glued to TV screens and isolated by iPods.
For this month’s special Simple Summer edition, we asked Natural Awakenings publishers around the country to share their favorite summer pastimes with readers. Browsing their anecdotes leaves one feeling lighter and gently reminded of how priceless the simple things are in life. Why not let the ideas on pages 32-34 inspire you to indulge in your own summer pleasures?
How enlivening it can be to our spirit to unplug from daily to-dos and engage with the natural world and one another in the present moment. Free of interruptions from cell phones, emails and text messages, we can focus on being fully present in the here and now.
Summer’s playful possibilities during its luscious, long days make me want to slow down, simplify my life and savor simple pleasures in ways that escape me the rest of the year. I realize anew that if I don’t walk the beach this morning, set aside an afternoon to kayak my favorite river or make a date for a day with a friend, I may never get to it—and wouldn’t that be the antithesis of what summer is for?
I have found that applying a summer state of mind to any season helps me embrace a lighter and happier approach to life. When joy seems elusive, making even a single change can transform my perspective and be a good place to start. Are you allowing for plenty of your own summer pleasures? It’s never too late.
Sharon Bruckman, Publisher