Summer afternoons were made for lazing

The grass is green and the phlox are pink. The hostas are blooming and the fall’s apples will soon to ready to pick.
The dill is ready for the cucumbers, and the chocolate mint makes wonderful tea.
It’s the life I’ve always dreamed about. Living close to the earth. Surrounded by evergreens. Listening to a waterfall. Dining on home-grown vegetables. Planning my own time. A white dog by my side.
Especially in the summer!
“Summer afternoon–summer afternoon; to me those have always been the most beautiful words in the English language.” How could Henry James have said it better!
It’s easy to get nostalgic thinking about summers past. Remember, as a child, lying flat in the grass, seeing all sorts of shapes in the clouds that floated overhead. Remember selling lemonade when the day was hot, and feeling cozy and secure in the house when the thunderstorm hit.
Remember fishing at the lake, and dabbling your toes in the woodland stream.
Childhood and summer are a perfect mix. For summer was meant for “lazing.”
Sometimes I anticipate the season by buying a book that will be just right to read. And that’s what I did this year.
“Don’t Just Do Something, Sit There,” by Sylvia Boorstein. The book seemed a perfect match for summer, and I kept it in my reading basket for months as much for the picture on the cover as the anticipation of the reading.
There on the front of the book was an empty Adirondack chair. Sturdy. Comfortable. Situated in the shade. It’s hard to imagine anything more inviting.
And just the name itself–Adirondack–brought back wonderful childhood memories of summers in the foothills.
Now, at last, after all these months, it’s time to read my book. But there’s one problem. I can’t find it, and I’ve been looking for two weeks.
It’s not in the reading basket and it isn’t on the shelf. It isn’t in any of my favourite haunts. It’s not under the bed, or by the recliner. And I can’t imagine having loaned it out.
So here I am, facing the summer, armed only with a mental image and a single sentence. An empty Adirondack chair and a compelling “don’t just do something, sit there.”
Sitting isn’t what we were trained to do. Not in our generation. Our parents knew too much about hard times. They knew what it took to pay the bills, and climb the ladders. And they taught us well.
They taught us to work, and take responsibility. We finished our homework on time, and watched out for our employees. We gave an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay. We were clothed in the work ethic.
Sometimes we sat but usually not long enough. It makes a person wonder what we might have missed by sitting so little.
Maybe we should listen to T.S. Eliot when he says, “Teach us to sit still.” For those who never sit and ponder are destined to be shallow.
Summer days were meant for sitting. For lazing in the sun or in the shade. Pondering the deeper things of life while you sit. Sipping your stress away with lemonade. Getting in touch with your soul and discovering what it is that really matters to you.
So before this summer winds down, go ahead, plan whatever projects you like and do them with dispatch. But then when afternoon comes, don’t just keep on doing. Sit there!
Marie Snider is an award-winning health care writer and syndicated columnist.

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