Sunday, July 26, 2009

Summer Days

When I was young, Summer seemed endless. I didn't have many requirements on my time, and long days could be spent on whatever activity I wanted. Now at my age and current situation, the days of Summer fly by in a whirl and are gone like a fast-food meal. Whole seasons go by in the blink of an eye. It'll be Labor Day, and I'll blink and wonder what happened to June, July, and August.

We lived out in the country, and I roamed through forest and field. Anyplace that was farther than a walk, I rode my bike. We didn't have personal music devices, unless you count a transistor radio. We didn't have personal computers of any kind. No cellphones or texting. There were no movies available on television, unless it was a movie of the week, and that was only at night. So apart from reading (which I did a lot of), you had to create your own diversions. No one was there to make sure you were occupied. If you were bored, you had to figure it out for yourself how to get unbored. Parents left the house early and were gone until late afternoon, almost suppertime.

We didn't have any neighbors, unless you count the cemetery, and the inhabitants weren't very lively companions. If you wanted to see a friend, you rode the miles over to their house (on a bike while not wearing a helmet). But if you called them, and they weren't right by the phone to take the call, you couldn't reach them, as answering machines weren't around either.

Many kids my age were outside for most of the day during the Summer months. We didn't wear sunscreen, and we didn't wear bug repellent, unless we were camping in the woods or by a lake. Now to merely sit outside on my deck for a few minutes, I have to slather myself with various gooey chemicals.

And if I want to drink water from my tap, I have to have it specially filtered through an expensive system. Back when I was a kid, if you said you paid money for plain water, people would have thought you were crazy, or really stupid. So why don't we have clean water we can trust, running from our home faucets? When and why did that become acceptable?

There are so many things to do now, so many committments and tasks to do. If I had the rest of the Summer off, I still wouldn't get everything done. But I don't just hurry through a long to-do list, I like to linger, to enjoy lovely Summer days. Yesterday we were at the Lowell Folk Festival, and it was a magnificent day for us, sitting in the shade, feeling the cool breeze, and listening to world-class music. About the only thing that could have made it better for me would have been to be on a sailboat.

So today is less sunny, but still a nice Summer day. And I'm at a computer, like I am almost every day of the week. Maybe I'll take a break and get outside...

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