And so we’ve arrived at the first August weekend. I may have said last post that about this time of year it always feels as if summer’s almost (practically) over–and indeed, two area schools (individual schools, not districts; they are experiments in student learning improvements) started classes this past week. But today it certainly feels “summer” – hot and humid. I don’t expect much variation between now and mid-September–this is what late summer usually is like around here. But I won’t complain. We don’t get wildfires, we don’t get serious drought.
My classics spin title ended up as probably the one I least wanted on the list–indeed, I hadn’t even realized it was still on the list. (Oops.) Tess of the D’Urbervilles. Not because I don’t want to read it–I’ve read and liked Hardy previously. But I have serious doubts as to the likelihood of being able to finish it by the end of the month. (And no, I haven’t started yet. I’ve been trying to finish up other things first.) So we’ll see how that goes. Maybe the deadline will prove the needed inspiration.
And there’s this, too, that helps: I haven’t gone a single day since May 20 without reading for at least five minutes! Some days it’s only been that five little minutes. But it’s become a streak that I am so reluctant to break, that there was even one night when I had to work late on a deadline–so late I was up past my bedtime–and even sleepy as I was, I wouldn’t let myself fall asleep before I’d read for that five minutes. On the other hand, while reading always seems a good thing, perhaps I should question my priorities…
(But the streak!)
I haven’t kept up with blogging as much as I’d like; that has been one of the casualties of busyness. I’d hoped to be able to participate in the Spanish-Portuguese Literature Months hosted by Stu and Richard, but that doesn’t look likely now. (Though there’s still time…maybe if I skip work for a week–think anyone would notice?!)
In some ways I feel the last few months have been absorbed all in work. And yet, when I think back to all that I’ve done, that’s not so, I just have had very little “do-nothing” time. I’ve finished seven books since early May. I’ve been to four movies, a rate higher-than-normal for me. One of them was the delightful documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor, which I was able to see thanks to a colleague telling me about a local independent theater that I didn’t even know existed. Apparently the documentary is quite popular–they sold out every showing (in an admittedly small theater) over at least two weekends.
I also got to do something I haven’t done in years–I went to a performance of the Cleveland Orchestra, featuring Audra McDonald, at Blossom Music Center, their summer home. I’d forgotten how wonderful those performances could be–and McDonald was so impressive. She truly can sing anything.
So summer hasn’t been a complete loss, even if at times it feels that way. In fact, as I write this, I’m sitting on the back screened porch, enjoying the breezes and sounds of birds and insects, glancing up to see fresh-cut flowers and the greens of the trees and shrubs. I don’t stop to enjoy the sounds of the world around me often enough, too busy with music or other distractions.
Sometimes I think our fully air-conditioned protected world prevents us from knowing the seasons as fully as we ought. Those hot lazy days of summer disappear without us even noticing how hot they are. We don’t take the time to appreciate the breezes or the humming of insects or trilling of birds when we stay inside our climate-controlled bubble. We scramble around in a world of pavements and buildings instead of meandering though forests and fields and streams. And so time passes us by because we let it be filled and busy and stressful instead of taking a deliberate pause and engaging in a world where a clock holds no meaning. It is certainly something I am guilty of.
Perhaps if there is one thing I hope for my coming months more than anything else, it is that I remember to pause. To meander. To be.