A Season for Everything

by Belinda Munoz on June 11, 2010

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Summertime, and the living is…guilt-ridden?

I don’t mean to mangle the lyrics to the Gershwin song from Porgy and Bess.  (Actually, I would’ve wanted to sing a la Billie Holiday, have you heard her version?  Effortlessly divine.)  But really, it depends on who you ask.

This particular question came up in a business meeting recently.  This woman, a recent transplant from back east, has started an office in town and is eager to get going on a few projects.  She’s run into a wall of unresponsiveness.  I confirmed her suspicion that, indeed, the pace of activity is significantly slower in the summer.  Kids are home.  Folks are gone.  People are checked out.  I assured her that big things would be difficult but that not-so-big things were still doable.

I could relate to her apprehension.  For years, come summertime, I would feel dread, guilt and restlessness.  I would miss the energy and the fullness that spring had; desperately trying to cook up pieces of something that, naturally, wouldn’t come together until the fall.

Feel guilty because activity is slow in the summer?  It seems odd, doesn’t it?  And yet, this is exactly the kind of self-imposed suffering to which we subject ourselves.  Over the things we can’t help.  Realities beyond our control.  Truths that won’t bend.

It’s funny how, in nature, we recognize with ease the inevitability of seasons, the cycles of the moon and the sun, the rhythm of day turning into night.  Yet when it comes to our existence, we’re less accepting of the cadence of our doing and being.  A boiling crescendo on some days.  A simmering decrescendo on other days.  And a smattering of tepid humming in between.

Years later, it’s nice to know that I’ve learned at least just a tiny bit about this particular lesson.  Now, I take a cue from Ecclesiastes (or The Byrds).  To everything…there is a season… I much prefer to believe this than to feel guilt-ridden for nothing.  At least this summer.

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  1. Do you have any plans this summer?  If so, won’t you share?
  2. What are your summer days like?  Peaceful?  Chaotic?  Both?  Neither?
  3. It’s ten days away but I wonder, do you have any summer solstice traditions?
  4. Are you good with guilt?  Any summertime guilty pleasures you wish to reveal?

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Justine June 11, 2010 at 6:22 am

I just love the lyricism in your writing: “Yet when it comes to our existence, we’re less accepting of the cadence of our doing and being. A boiling crescendo on some days. A simmering decrescendo on other days. And a smattering of tepid humming in between.”

It’s our first summer with a toddler and I have a feeling that most of what we do will be dictated by the pleasures she unwittingly shows us, rather than the other way around. Like my post today 🙂

No big plans. Just a determination to appreciate this season with new eyes.

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2 Tony Single June 11, 2010 at 6:43 am

1. I plan to get through winter first. That’s what it is right now at the bottom of the planet where I live!

2. Our summer days are like boiling in Satan’s sauna that someone forgot to let us out of! Imagine having a tepid shower in an attempt to get cool but it not working. Then imagine getting out of said shower, drying yourself off, and then realising you’re not dry at all because of the screamingly high humidity. Then imagine putting clothes upon your sweat drenched person, only to have said clothes suck up every last bit of your sweat… then walking around like that for the rest of the day. Good grief!

3. We certainly do have a summer solstice tradition… it’s called “Let’s Just Get the Flip Through Summer… and Never Speak of it Again”.

4. I don’t have any guilty pleasures. That term could imply that I should feel guilty for having certain pleasures and not others. Who gets to decide which are the correct ones to have? Having said that, I would gladly belly flop into a vat of ice cream if I thought I could get away with it!

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3 Kate June 11, 2010 at 10:39 am

I love summer. Long evenings in the garden, picking my salad which is growing at the moment and having a lovely meal and a glass of wine. Should the wine be a guilty pleasure? No, just a pleasure, but not a guilty one.
I have 10 days which I have kept completely free, I am going to switch off completely. Possibly drive through France and camp in a few villages, start to decrease my ever growing pile of books, get the garden looking lovely, I can’t wait.

Your words always uplift and inspire me,
Many thanks,
Kate.

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4 ayo June 11, 2010 at 11:35 am

hello belinda,
how are you?
hmmh!!! summer. there isnt so much excitement in the air for now. besides in north west london, it’s either raining or chilly. I ‘m still wearing my jumpers out and about lol!!!!
anyway we’ve got to be thankful for life, family, friends, nature………
take care and have a lovely weekend.

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5 BigLittleWolf June 11, 2010 at 11:39 am

This culture is so guilt-ridden, isn’t it? Especially for women? And especially when it comes to taking a bit of time off.

Plans? I’d like to have one of those luscious looking frozen numbers in your picture – though they look too healthy to yield any guilt whatsoever. No specific plans here, except writing, trying to figure out the “everything” I’m always trying to figure out, parenting, “being.” Trying to allow myself a wider range of being, which ought to be simpler somehow.

And if I’m lucky, time to read, guilt-free. Simple pleasures, really. Which would suit me just fine. (And no more car trouble, hopefully.)

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6 Aging Mommy June 11, 2010 at 12:45 pm

You know for me summer spells activity – the pools are all open, the nights are light so walking after bed time for my daughter is possible, we get out and about and I love the sunshine. Winter is when I feel I am shutting down, especially if it is cold and the skies are dull, then I want to hide away, curl up with a book and just be lazy.

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7 Fr. Michael June 11, 2010 at 1:03 pm

Belinda,
You expressed exactly how I’ve been feeling! When the summertime arrives here in RI, the change is palpable. You can literally feel the change more than any other season. And while I do embrace this–it’s my favorite time of year–I also give into feeling the guilt that the pace can be slower. Isn’t it crazy to feel guilty?! This summer I’m going to do my best to continue to embrace the gift of this season: taking some vacation, enjoying some golf, time with friends and family…and a few gin and tonics! Hope you enjoy it as well…

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8 Katie June 11, 2010 at 2:35 pm

I plan to eat as much of that low-fat frozen treat that you have pictured above. I’m also going camping and have been humming and hawing over the idea of what to do with my blog. Let it ride for two weeks, set up auto posts, have guests take care of it, or just find an internet cafe nearby the beach where I’m camping and post every few days. But, you’ve inspired me to perhaps consider a simple and guilt-free approach. I may just kick off my shoes, dig my toes into the sand, play beach volleyball for two weeks and then come back and start writing again. Sound like a plan? I love summer and a beach is no place for a laptop.

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9 Tess The Bold Life June 11, 2010 at 6:39 pm

Belinda,
Self imposed suffering;) I’m so good at that! Well…I’m a lot less punishing than I used to be anyway! It’s so needless and it all stems from fear. I know you already know that. Happy Summer!

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10 Corinne June 12, 2010 at 9:04 am

I’ve honestly never felt guilty about the pace of summer, I tend to embrace any and every chance to slow down 🙂 (and by slow down, I just mean chasing toddlers outside instead of inside 😉 )
Our plans are to go to the beach as often as possible, I’ll be heading to BlogHer in August, and that’s about it!

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11 Stacia June 12, 2010 at 1:38 pm

My husband is trying to convince me to go camping with the kiddos this summer. The alternative is a family road trip to a cousin’s wedding in Denver. I think I’d just as soon stay home in the AC and nap! =>

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12 Bob Bessette June 13, 2010 at 8:08 am

Hi Belinda,
So nice to be reading your blog again. My wife and I just planted our tomato and herb garden in the past couple of weeks. So we are hoping that we’ll be eating may tomatos and my wife will always have herbs for our meals that she cooks with such creativity. We are also going to a musical “Drowsy Chaperone” at a local professional playhouse. We also have family visiting from the West Coast (LA area) so I’m taking a week off to enjoy that. My wife and I were just talking about going back to Sonoma and San Fran within the next few years when my youngest is also off to college. It is such a beautiful area and we miss it.
I hope your weather out there has been nice and it’s really nice to be reading your “positivity” blog again.
Best,
Bob

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13 Wilma Ham June 13, 2010 at 9:17 pm

That picture looks delightful and goes very well with this; “To everything…there is a season… I much prefer to believe this than to feel guilt-ridden for nothing. At least this summer.”
Guilt, what a waste of perfectly good ice-cream and perfectly good times. Tony should have guilt about even thinking of belly flopping in perfectly good ice cream though.

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14 Eva @ EvaEvolving June 14, 2010 at 11:48 am

I love the idea of a summer solstice tradition! Now I just have to think of one…

At work, summer definitely has a slower pace. Or a change of pace. Instead of the events and meetings and buzz of spring, we can take a step back and do more evaluation, planning, strategy. Which is good, there is a natural order to it. We’re preparing for ramping up again in the fall.

In Minnesota, I think most of us believe that summer is short so we need to enjoy it. We take a lot of long weekends, many of us take a week or more for vacation, we go out as a group for lunch, we have friends over for barbecues, we indulge in the ice cream!

I think about the Italian lifestyle and how the whole country practically shuts down for August. Wouldn’t this be great, a month of rest and relaxation? But since we don’t get that in the US, we might as well enjoy the slower pace for the summer!

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15 Lauren June 14, 2010 at 4:06 pm

Ah yes, summertime. I love the laziness of it all. And even though I’ve been oh so busy, I’m finding that I’m taking a bit more time for nothing special but relaxation these days…including long conversations with my friends and people I’ve never met before. Summertime.

I’ll meet a group of friends in Santa Barbara for the very cool Summer Solstice Parade that has become our annual tradition. We’ll go out on a harbor cruise the night before and hopefully see lots of dolphins as we did last year.

Trips back east to see relatives and friends…my awesome nephew’s 21st birthday party (the one I’m invited to)!

Summer always is lots of beach time with my dear friend near Santa Barbara. We’ve had our beach days for 20 years now!

So, as you can see, I’m a summer person at heart and I never feel guilty for any pleasures!

I like the way you have me once again smiling at the simple joys of life, Belinda.

Hugs,
Lauren

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16 Leisa Watkins June 17, 2010 at 10:33 pm

My favorite summer tradition is summer foods – fresh garden produce. I love the taste of fresh off-the-vine tomatoes, roasted corn-on-the cob, watermelon.
I love spending time in the mountains camping and breathing that fresh wondrous air.
I do love summer, but I am grateful that where we live we are blessed with all four seasons in their full glory. Crisp autumn air, the beauty of the fresh faller snow, and tulips peaking through the snow in spring are also thoroughly enjoyed.

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