Tag Archives: summer

Priority Tension

It is summer.  For a brief season, all of us bound by school-year schedules are free; visions of swimming pools dance in our heads.  Lakes and camping, beaches and sandcastles, supper on the patio.  The hours ahead seem endless, which the kids are quick to pick up on.  “I’m boooorrrred,” whines across the country.  We roll our eyes, throw a book.  The screen door slams.  Laughter spills over the yard.

But summer is also the season of angst, for me, anyway.  So many projects, put off all year, so many options every day.  What to prioritize?  What will get checked off?

I went to a garage sale this week, checked out a hammock.  “It’s a little loose,” the lady said.  “You can increase the tension.”  And there’s the trick — the tension between numbering our days, accomplishing all of the procrastinated projects, or keeping margin, swinging loose.  Too loose and I’m bored, guilty, mad at myself for wasted days.  Too tight and I cringe when the doorbell rings, grump when I fail, sigh when I realize I missed the joy.

Summer is a microcosm of life speeding by.  Seems like forever, but blink and you’ll miss it.

I made a list today:  all of the things that need doing.  As usual, I made sure to include some I can already check off.  (Secret to a good list, right there.)  But I think I should go back, add a few:

  • make homemade ice cream

    photo via visualhunt.com
  • light sparklers on the 4th
  • visit Hanging Lake
  • read a book by Citronella candlelight on the porch
  • go kayaking with the smallest boy
  • get coffee with the tallest boy
  • go yard sale-ing with the laughing girl
  • spend as much money as possible at lemonade stands
  • go to free outdoor concerts in the park
  • remember that summer is fleeting, life is fleeting, life is a wildflower and then it is gone.

Photo via <a href=”https://visualhunt.com/re/5abcad”>Visual Hunt</a>


Camping is when the weatherman said 65 degrees but the thermometer says 35, or the weatherman said 70 degrees but the thermometer says one hundred and freaking fifty two.  Camping is when you lay aside all of your modern conveniences and hearken back to the day of lugging water, rubbing sticks together, and peeing in the woods.  Hello, poison ivy!  Camping is when you realize you are not smarter than a 5th grader, or a boy scout, or yourself 30 years ago.

Camping is when you work really hard all day long so that you can relax for the weekend.  “Relax” means get eaten by mosquitoes, lay on a bumpy pile of sharp rocks to (not) sleep, and eat burnt food three times a day.

Camping is when you can’t check your email or get cell phone service or watch the news and the only thing tweeting is a bird.

Camping is when you sing dumb songs like “Greasy Gobs of Gopher Guts” and “It Only Takes a Spark” and eventually some really sweet songs by Rich Mullins and you might get a little bit teary-eyed remembering the first time you sang those songs around the campfire.

Camping is definitely s’mores.

Camping is wet shoes and wet butts and rain, and dry mouth and sunburn and snakes, and the most ridiculous view of the most beautiful place you’ve ever seen in your whole, entire life.

It’s the Milky Way spangled across the sky, and the shrieking of too-cool teenagers who sound suddenly like they’re about eight years old, and upside-down mountains in the lake.  It’s letting the dogs off the leash, and ice cream cones at a small town gas station, and the sharp snap of a stick in the dark.  It’s a shy deer at dawn and a silent moose at dusk and a flash of fur through the trees.  What was that?

Camping is summer.  Can’t wait.DSCN0433