"Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass
under trees on a summer's day, listening to the murmur
of the water, or watching the clouds float across
the sky, is by no means a waste of time."
I do love the quotation above for it really describes the kind of summer we've enjoyed this year. We have indeed watched countless clouds float across the skies from our comfy perch in the garden. And we have felt like Mr. Lubbock it's not a waste of time. Rather, observation skills have been honed as I paid closer attention to the detailed wonders around me. My mind boggles to imagine how much I’ve missed in my lifetime from rushing around, life in earlier seasons just being that way. But I now have the time to develop the art of relaxing, allowing myself to come into that tranquil place and not let the itching need to always jump at the least provocation to get on with things.
Recently I came across an article from The New Yorker written when Canadian author Alice Munro won the 2013 Nobel Prize in Literature. One line stood out for me; it was from the prize committee's commentary on why Ms. Munro had won. It was for her ability as a writer to show "how much of the extraordinary can fit into that jam-packed emptiness called The Ordinary”.
Oh my, I had to sit with those words for a while. And truly, that's how I've been aiming to live these sun-kissed summer days—in awe of how much of the extraordinary can enrich my simple and ordinary life.
We've had such pleasant weather... did you ever notice that we need nice weather to enjoy summer properly? Too hot and we seek the air-conditioned coolness of indoors. Too windy and who wants to sit on the deck to read when one must hang onto one's hat and book and water glass, all the while fretting the patio umbrella will whip into the trees. And we won't even mention hail and thunderstorms and possible tornadoes.
Between the usual chores and errands, and despite a few small dramas—our vehicle out of the blue started to make loud strange rattles; and my own body began, also out of the blue, experiencing a strange lightheadedness that wouldn't go away and required a visit to my physician—despite such disturbances, it’s still been a wonderful summer. I haven’t wasted a moment feeling panicky or sad when the signs indicated the season was heading rather quickly towards September and autumn. Autumn is my favourite season, but this year I'm in no hurry for it. And rather than lament at how quickly the darkness is creeping back—every day the sun sets a little earlier—I’m choosing to soak in each day, letting the gentle pleasures feed my soul. As the days slowly turn into late summer, I watch the tall yellow Rudbeckia come into her own now. In the scheme of things, although she is a late blooming plant, she’s not late but right on time according to her own time clock and DNA coding. That’s something to muse about, especially if you ever wonder, like I have, if you’re one of life’s late bloomers, feeling like maybe it's too late. What if you're Rudbeckia just now coming into full bloom in her right season.
I'm outside a lot enjoying the bird chatter and the crows flying in flocks over our house in the evenings, watching the bees messing about in the blossoms, and taking joy in the one female hummingbird who has visited several days in a row. We think it's the same bird as she follows a similar pattern when she visits in the late afternoon, first zooming through the spiky pink liatris and then flits to a couple of very late still fresh blossoms on the lilac. She buzzes around our heads a moment and then zips over to the honeysuckle growing round the waterspout from the eavestroughs. Maybe she meets Itsy Bitsy Spider while there.
I bring out my tall glass of ice-water and my latest book, settle into my comfy wicker-styled chair and let the afternoon drift around me. I drift in and out, storybook tale and the real world mingling in my mind. Sometimes I'm startled to find myself in my own garden, I've been so immersed in my far away story. Right now, I’m reading a mystery novel by Donna Leon. She writes the Commissario Brunetti series. I recently bumped into her books at the library when I read a note on the shelf saying if you’re a Louise Penny fan (and I am!) then you will likely enjoy these police detective novels set in Venice, Italy. With more than 30 books in the series, I’ve a lot of catching up to do.
Never one to be satisfied with just one book on the go, I am slow reading a slim novel a fellow travel friend recommended to me (we met in 2016 on a Garden Tour during our visit to England). The title is The Summer Book by Finnish author Tove Jansson. Published in 1972, this classic is the tale of an elderly artist and her six-year-old motherless granddaughter who spend their summers on a tiny island near Finland. I love the reviewer Melissa Harrison's comment about the book: "It's about how people can live close together for months with tact and grace, and about how rich and rewarding even a small world can be."
We interrupt our afternoons of reading with refreshments. Hot tea is rarely on offer these days. Rick indulges in a pear cider or Irish ale, and I sip an iced San Pellegrino sparkling water, the Dark Morello Cherry & Pomegranate flavour being a current favourite.
Our evenings have been so mild and calm, so after supper we come out, watching the world go by as we wait to catch the scent of the evening scented stock on the cooling breezes. I write about it HERE. One evening I opened the front door, and the fragrance was right there filling the air. I stood breathing in trying to capture this moment—which in my mind’s eye becomes the essence of an idyllic summer evening. Too dark to read and the bugs now too pesky, I reluctantly head indoors. I still smell the stocks—perhaps in some magical way the scent has woven into my hair and clothing, the fragrance is so fresh in my nostrils.
By the way, the vehicle was an easy and reasonable repair. And the doctor thinks my body no longer requires the medications I've been taking for several years. My lifestyle changes have made a difference: weight loss of 30-plus pounds, both BP and sugars now in normal ranges. So, I’m off the meds with instruction to report back in September, hopefully things have normalized by then.
Meanwhile, summer continues to hand out days of rich sunshine and pleasant temperatures with time for gentle pursuits. My heart is filled with gratitude.
"In summer, the song sings itself."
WILLIAM CARLOS WILLIAMS
Wishing you a beautiful weekend, you dear people!
Top Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay
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