Summer Musings

July 9, 2017 at 11:33 AM



I see July 1st as my “Summer New Year.” 

It’s the time of year when the days grow longer, the temperatures heat up, and life slows down.  Living on an island in Southwest Florida, it may seem like I live in an eternal summer of long afternoons at the beach and dreamy, sunny days—but au contraire.  Our winters are cool and our tourist season has recently taken on an intensity that makes even the shortest trip an exercise in white-knuckle patience. 

For me, there is definitely a whole new cycle that starts when my college teaching ends; I can take in a deep breath and enjoy the moment, and my island exhales with me in a long, calm sigh of relief.  Time becomes my friend.  I feel it first when I realize that I have no schedule, except the one that I make for myself.  Freedom.

Of course, it’s never that simple.

I immediately make my summer goals, which sound like the typical New Year’s Day up-front-and-personal makeover:  exercise more regularly, have a focused writing schedule, plan my marketing events, eat more organic foods, etc. etc. 

What happened to my summer fun?  

Life.  Schedules.  Routines.  They never really stop, do they?


“Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.”

― Henry James



Okay, I just accept that my June 1st Summer Renaissance will have a rhythm of its own, but it will include the dreaded “r” word:  routine.  Even the Dalai Lama schedules his meditation time.  As a writer, I still have to set out a daily to-do list (more flexible than the tight teaching days—for sure) of writing time, editing time, and marketing time. Those people who run a home office business know the importance of organizing their day only too well, but I struggle with it when all I can think about are sundresses and sandcastles.  But I have many ways to “trick” myself into being more organized when the lure of taking a swim off the Gulf of Mexico beckons, which usually includes dangling a special treat like chocolate for consumption (oh, no—I’ve now entered into violating the “organic food” territory).  Note to self:  Stock healthy nibbles.  Secondly, I have to blend my errands/author events/fun shopping treks with a self-imposed workday.  It’s so easy to hop in the car and head out for a meeting at a local bookstore, then make it an all-day swimsuit browsing expedition (that’s another whole story).  At that point, my focus is shot and I need a gym trip to recover.  Argh!  So I have to plan my week as I plan my day—knowing I’ll stick to it maybe fifty percent of the time.  Thirdly, avoid too much online anything.  Enough. Said.


I Iove the idea of summer.  I love the pungent, salty smell of the beach (though I don’t actually go there very often).  I love barbecues and corn on the cob.  I love sailing.  I love the sound of flip flops as I walk.  I love the sunshine.  I love the sound of gentle breezes that stir the palm fronds to brush against the side of our house.  Most of all, I love the belief that a new season can renew and excite us with memories of the past and dreams of the future. 

Embrace the warmth and possibilities of a Summer Renaissance!  Signing off from Mango Bay . . . .




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