This summer has been marked by rhythms which are a bit off beat. Perhaps they are syncopated, mostly beautiful, but different. As women we establish routines and traditions, often following the seasons and the calendar as we make our life within our family and home.
Our old normal, the paradigm we grew accustomed to when our children were young was one of embracing summer, racing headlong into the three month stretch, living breathlessly. We planned family trips and took off a week or two plus some weekends to go and play. We lived summer with exuberance knowing that school would start again soon and and our summer living would end sometime around Labor day.
But this summer has a different feel. It has rained more than any summer in recent memory, leaving the earth soggy. I have not entertained friends and family as much as my heart longs to. Back to school pictures started showing up in my social media feed around, well the middle of summer. We are counting the days to a once in a lifetime solar eclipse which has put my little village on the map. Life and traffic will come to a halt on August 21 as our world goes black for two minutes. Summertime is usually a time of inviting folks around my table but my table is cluttered with mail and work. Our rhythms are off.
Beyond the safety and familiarity of home, the news feels heavy and heartbreaking. The Psalms bring relief and comfort because the words of the psalmists feel like my own. I want the world to be at peace and for this summer to end with good news. I long for the ebb and flow of life giving healing in a world on the brink of war and hate.
There is joy in remaining at home and peace in staying put. Remaining here provides time for prayer and for quiet reflection and to let “Lord have mercy” linger on my lips.
Sometimes there are cracks and breaks that occur in the patterns of life. New routines, shifts and changes form a new normal. And home and life and place feel reborn, remade in a temporary way. There is light that shines through the cracks, as there always is. And beauty appears in the changes. His mercy and grace are here in this place of abiding.
I am remaining more. And I am watching as a bystander — watching the wanderlust of friends and family. I’ve watched in awe through the photographs and storytelling of friends this summer. And so through their stories I have had my passport stamped in Moscow, Spain, Ireland, and Croatia. I have travelled to the Cotswolds and to Lake Michigan. And next week I will go to The Dominican Republic.
This is our season of staying right here a little more. This is our summer of being anchored and tethered to our life and what it is calling us to do and be. We have been working more and writing more, squeezing in respite and fun in the cracks. Like the drag you felt as a kid when you slowed your bike with one tennis shoe bent for a brake, we are slowing. We have not come to a full stop but neither are we soaring around with a passport in hand.
Sharing and receiving each other’s stories can take us beyond the threshold of our own door. It can compound our living by extending the hand, inviting, saying come go with me. When we crack the door open to others through storytelling we travel metaphorically while we remain at home. You invite me to go with you on the wings of your story. And I am grateful, as I find peace at home. Hospitality has wings for those who may need to stay behind. And the world expands, the table enlarges.
I am learning to savor the peace of being here, at home. I am finding that our now is a beautiful now, filled with work and just the right amount of breathless summer. And I am soaking up the days of summer in all that they have for us in shades of tomato red, hydranga blue and melon coral. Savoring the shades of elsewhere, through brightly colored wanderlust that is shared with me; while I remain.
And when our work is done, we may pack our bags and go. And I will tell my story.
In our staying at home this summer we have enjoyed lots of watermelon. Here is a recipe for one of our favorite summer dishes.
- Baby arugula
- Sea salt
- Fresh ground pepper
- Fresh basil
- Fresh goat cheese crumbles
- *Additional toppings include - candied pecans, red onion slices, pitted fresh cherries
- Scoop out watermelon with an ice cream scooper for large pieces or melon scooper for smaller
- Drain watermelon briefly on paper towel (or use it in all its juicy-ness)
- Place watermelon in large salad bowl
- Mix in plenty of baby arugula
- Add Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, generously
- Cut fresh basil into desirable size pieces, sprinkle on top
- Add fresh goat cheese crumbles
- Toss with red wine vinegar and favorite extra virgin olive oil
- Serve with chicken or shrimp or favorite main dish. Enjoy