6.21.2010

The Length of a Summer Day

It's funny how time is so nebulous. I can recall those days of my youth, in both Pueblo, Colorado, and John Day, Oregon, when the day seemed to stretch for eons. I'd wake prior to 5:00 a.m. and my mom would get my sister and I off to swim team practice. We'd knock off before 8:00 and I'd be home and helping out around the house before heading down to the river.

Sometimes it was with friends but, just as likely, I'd head down there by myself. I'd head home for lunch (ham sandwich and a banana milkshake) and then return for an afternoon of catching snakes and crawdads and fish. Baseball practice called me away and then it was dinner with the family.

Seriously, those days were wonderful, but they seemed so long. I can distinctly recall wondering when life's pace would quicken and everything would get started.

Well, be careful what you wish for, right? There aren't enough hours in the day to fit everything in: writing, teaching, exercise, cooking, cleaning, family time--the days fly by and they run into each other.

That's particularly true for me in the summer, when I teach full-time at the college. I also serve on a number of committees (three hiring committees--we've got interviews Tuesday through Thursday of this week).

But in the winter, I can take a breath. I take off January and February and work just a few classes in March and April. Time slows and I'm able to produce more writing and spend more time with family.

Why mention this? Well, on this, the first day of summer, my wife and daughter are no doubt at the beach. My wife is taking a much-deserved summer vacation, and she's spending it with Lyla. They are heading to Washington this week to see Jeanne's grandparents (and the rest of her family), and then we'll gear up for some serious July family vacations (and swimming lessons!).

Lyla's out of daycare for the summer, so she gets our full attention. It's exciting.

I know those two girls are going to have long, lazy days. They'll go to the beach every day and spend the rest of the afternoon in their swimsuits, I hope, and they'll be able to share that time, charge their batteries and feel the freedom of unmarked time...

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