Welcoming Summer

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The Summer Day

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

— Mary Oliver


The last two lines of this poem have been posted up at each workspace I've had in recent years. Part conviction, part motivation. A daily reminder that life is here and now and to be seized. For me, summer has always felt like the season to really carpe diem. I've made many summer bucket lists in my day - take all the road trips, swim all the beaches, eat all the ice cream. Soak up all that those freeing, fleeting months have to offer.

Though the season change is more subtle here in San Diego, and I haven't had a true "summer off" since college, there is still a felt shift in the rhythm and energy of summertime. The days are longer. The sun is brighter. Windows wide open, everything feels a bit more carefree. Equal parts adventure and retreat, summer is a welcome excuse to rest, gather, and escape. It's the time of year when routines fade to lazy days and exploring outside past dark. When being sweaty and barefoot and sunburnt is perfectly normal.

While this season can be a natural time of slowing and focusing, it can just as easily be filled with inordinate amounts of busyness. And these days, life with a toddler already feels busy enough. So with every intention of still enjoying all the summer-y things, I won't be writing any bucket lists. I turn 30 at the end of the season, and with it comes a deep-felt desire to do less instead of more. To forego the planning and list making and let the days unfold as they may. To savor the wild and precious moments of the season. The warm earth beneath my bare feet. The smell of sunscreen filling our home. The golden evening light lingering behind the palms.

Welcome summer. May your days be long and slow and savored.