Summer was Half the Year and other musings

Elusive Time

We all know that time is relative depending on what we are doing during that time period. We hear that time goes faster as we live longer. Whether “they” are right or wrong, speaking from my experience, I mostly agree. As you know I have been talking about these past thirteen years and, how, looking back they seemed to go by so quickly. Furthurmore, compared to my  childhood summers in the 50’s the rest of my life in retrospect has been travelling at warp speed.

When I was a girl I loved school and I loved summer. In fact I thought the year was divided evenly between school and summer holidays because both of these time frames were welcome in my life. I didn’t need a calendar or a clock to measure time – I revelled in both.

Each time period had its own magic:

school- new teacher, new books, poems, subjects, scribblers and pencils, new grade, new clothes, new school bag and friends and many activities that I loved.

summer- endless days and evenings to play, explore, swim, spend time with my cousins, aunts and uncles, be outdoors all day except for meals, pick berries, eat popsicles, play croquet, bike,  hide and go seek in the evening,  skip rope, and read all day in a hammock if I so desired. Watch the clouds, build sand castles, picnics…

What I had in my childhood summer was spaciousness freedom and fun.

I was devastated and humiliated when my classmate proved to me in no uncertain terms that I was wrong – and that summer was only two months and school ten. She couldn’t believe that a smart girl could be so stupid. (nor could I, for that matter)

Lost in the joy of my summer days that seemed to stretch forever, I never felt that time flew by. On the contrary, I had all the time in the world. I suppose because my days were unstructured and spent outdoors. And the school year didn’t seem too long because I loved learning, structure, (interesting) and all that came with going to school.

As we live longer and take on responsibilities of all kinds it is no longer the case that we have all the time in the world. We are managed by our calendars and clocks. This is natural and happens to  us as we grow up. Of course, like all change there are upsides and downsides.

Grandchildren

My own grandchildren don’t experience my childhood summers because life is different now. They are already operating with calendars and clocks. This is not up for comparison as I can see the many advantages that come with their life. Still, I suspect that one of the reason they love the west coast or going to the maritimes has to do with a peak into the past –  freedom, spaciousness and no obligations.

They get to live for awhile close to nature with magnificent star-filled skies, the sound of the waves, family lore, a million cousins, few rules, and the beauty of coastal mountains, forests, bays and the sea –  close-up. And of course there is the great allure of the city of Vancouver – family  and all that happiness along with the coastal mountains and the water taxis… But in a seashell, so to speak, they revel in the wonder of a different kind of day, space and time.

Don’t we all need a little taste of this from time to time.

Pico Iyer, a beloved writer, writes about stillness and the need for regular breaks from our overly organized lives. (See the link in notes.)

Still, I have noticed another aspect of modern time. How it gets compressed the minute we are with people we love even though it may have been years  since seeing them. We pick up as though there have been no time gaps. Yet,  how time is interminable when we are waiting for possible bad news/hoping for good news regarding our medical tests.

My Mother lived to be 100 and if you asked her how old she felt she always said about 70. She too was surprised how her internal clock operated on a different time than the calendar. “Why 70,” I asked? She usually explained it like this – her spirit, who she was, didn’t appear to age at all – she felt ageless. However, her physical body changed more significantly somewhere around 70 and she knew she was no longer a young woman. She also added that when I turned 50, she obviously could not still be that age. -:) Also, she could see that her body had lived a long time and needed different things from her – so she made adjustments. Not excuses, rather cheerful adaptations to reality.

I know I Sound Like a Broken Record

What I wish for is that all of you can create and catch  timeless moments this summer.Whether it is hiking on a carefree day, or sitting by a campfire at the lake roasting s’mores, or up late under the stars telling stories with friends and family as you watch the meteor showers. Anything at all where time can disappear and you have that feeling, that awesome luxury of all the time in the world.

May you enjoy July.

Notes

1:)Pico Iyer 15 min Ted Talk on The Art of Stillness

2:) Thanks to Rob -pictured here- for providing beautiful photos. And Happy Early Birthday Rob – enjoy your weekend celebration in Victoria.

3:) What looks like a dragonfly is a Cardinal Meadowhawk from the dragonfly family Libellulidae.

4:) My first hike was in the Gatineau on Sunday and was a wonderful outing with lovely people.  Realize how I have missed being on the forest trails.

5:) I hope you are all doing well enough and having some idyllic summer days. I appreciate you stopping by here to read my blog. Warmly, Trudy

PS Just saw that Oliver Burkeman has a new book coming out in October called Meditations for Mortals. It is bound to be one I will enjoy.

 

 

 

4 replies
  1. Janet Vickers
    Janet Vickers says:

    Your happiness is not disposable. I am concerned about the future children, their schools and their families as they struggle to make ends meet. What happened to general decency in weighing the drive to be rich, and the safety of a decent society?

    Reply
    • T Boyle
      T Boyle says:

      I do understand your concern dear Janet. It is such a complex matter as society changes but for me I am always hopeful that there is something better around the corner. Not in a Pollyanna kind of way but based on my direct experience in the world. I see so many amazing people young and old so I stay curious and confident. Best wishes, Trudy

      Reply
  2. Emma Rooney
    Emma Rooney says:

    As a child I too was a lover of summertime but reading your post Trudy made me realize somehow that I equally (not less or more) loved the school year for many of the same reasons you mention. As an adult, I could never decide if childhood summers were the best time of year or the school year, and something about not picking a favourite made me feel guilty and disloyal. Now I realize I cherished two major seasons in my life, and that’s exactly what they were, full seasons not dictated by the calendar but tied to activities I cherished! I still think that summer was half the year is a brilliant poem in a title and it brings a smile to my face just reading that far. Thank you Trudy for taking the time to share your reflections.

    Reply
    • T Boyle
      T Boyle says:

      Thank you Emma. I am delighted to not be the only one who experienced summer as half the year. You inspired me to write a poem although I am not a poet. It was a meaningful thing to do and I thank you. Warmly, Trudy

      Reply

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