Sunday, August 23, 2009

Hit the Pause Button!

Classes start late this year -- September 8th is our first day back although, of course, we've all been doing prep and attending meetings for weeks by then. The class schedule means an abrupt change of pace and no matter what the weather is like through September (and it's often beautiful -- too hot for our NON air-conditioned classrooms), it also means the end of summer. Because summer is a concept as much as a meteorological condition; it's metaphysics as much as physics.

So I'm dragging my heels right now, and trying to squeeze as much summer out of these last two weeks as possible. Last week, after our faculty meeting, a colleague came for a swim here, and although it was ever-so-much colder -- gasp!! breath-grabbing at first plunge! -- than early in August, we distilled considerable summer into a memory we'll enjoy in deep November. We later went to a fascinating talk about labyrinths (and the possibility of building one here on our little island) by my knowledgeable neighbour and friend who is currently researching and writing about them. It was a very summery talk with good, earnest folk gathered around a huge table in our little community building, doors and windows open so that wavesounds and birdsound and kids' voices drifted in. The most delightful canapés were served -- beautifully ripe, fresh apricot halves filled with a dollop of cream cheese and topped with a basil leaf -- how summery is that?! We strolled back to the ferry, my friend/colleague and I, through the dusk-turning-to-dark warm night, listening to the crickets chirp, observing the stars emerge overhead -- ah, summer!

Yesterday, Pater and I wandered over to a neighbour's for a 65th-birthday/retirement celebration and there were 60 or more friends gathered, spread all over Marian's seaside yard, gathered 'round the huge makeshift potluck tables or tucked in a corner listening to the impromptu performances by numerous island musicians. People wandered in and out of the house to refill wine glasses, doors all summer-open reflecting the expansive mood of the day. Clothing of summer marks this expansiveness as well -- easy and pretty and floaty and playfully-exposed and hippy and colourful, being some of the descriptors for that crowd's attire, a different set of words than we'll need in a few months.

So as with the dragon boaters in the photo, stopped momentarily in front of our place earlier this week, I know that soon I'll just have to dig in and get on with it -- we can't go backwards nor can we stop time, and, after all, fall, then winter, will bring their own charms. But for now, I'm pausing to savour these last easy-living days of summer. Hope you can too!

7 comments:

  1. I am back at work 3rd Sept and start teaching on the following Monday. It is with mixed feelings that I return, I am far more productive at work, but I do love the pace of the days during the summer break.
    Walking the dog and preparing salads for lunch, as well as day trips up town. I have always felt a 4 day week would be perfect, but I am assured by part timers that you inavariably, not only waste the day on house work, but still have the same work load.
    We are having a bit of a heatwave here, so would rather fancy a swim outdoors!

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  2. Love the sound of that seaside yard and, after - at long last - a really wonderful run of summer weather here in England (in this part of the country at least), I am making the most of every sun-filled moment. But this autumn, for the first time in years, I will not be registering the start of the new academic year, having taken the decision to retire properly. And will then concentrate on doing what I've always wanted to do. . . more writing, more travelling, more photography, more time for friends, (even) more reading and (even) longer dog walks. And am determined to find that small house by the sea . . .

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  3. Every day my 4 year old asks me when we can start swimming in our pool again (not for sometime time yet - it's still winter here and the water temperature is currently 12 degrees celcius), even though it's cold, we're starting to warm up slightly, and are looking forward to summer again, far off as it still seems.

    Enjoy your last weeks before getting back into the thick of things!

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  4. I love the winding down of summer, and although we will not be returning to school or paid occupations, I find that the beginning of September still brings a change in the calendar and the number and kind of obligations. September will still be warm, but summer will be over. We are savoring the last bits of summer.

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  5. What a wonderful mood and atmosphere you evoke with your description. Here we're heading into spring (although it is still officially winter), with a balming 25 degrees yesterday and 27 forecast today - quite warm enough for me. I dread the dog days of summer where we sometimes head into the 40s. But I am looking forward to kayaking and picnics and other summer delights.

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  6. IndiAl: I, too, have occasionally thought of doing part-time, but I know I'd still have the same amount of committee work so I'd be working .7, getting paid for .5 -- not worth it!
    60/16: Now this tempts me! your vision of retirement is one I could move into . . . my plan for now is to wait at least a year after Pater's retirement (which is scheduled for a year or so from now), maybe a few more than that. But when you describe yours this way . . .
    Imogen/Tiff: That whole seasonal reversal down-under thing is still as magical to me as it was when I was a child. The 40-degrees, though, that's not magical but frightening -- I can't do heat at all, so Imogen's pool would be an absolute lifesaver!
    Mardel: I think we're all marked for a lifetime by that school calendar of our childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood. Or maybe it's just the crispness of the fall air which makes us feel as if new beginnings are possible . . .

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  7. I envy your life. On the other hand, just hearing about that evening seems to bring it to me here in my suburban kitchen.

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