The other day I was in my solitary lap lane in the pool when a woman yelled out “Look! A deer!” And everyone in the water – it was late morning, so less than a dozen of us were wet so early in the day – stopped and watched a big deer go bounding by in the park just beyond the fenced in pool area. It was a shared moment of delight, making me aware of how much I’ve missed that element of communal experience during the pandemic. The pool allows me the shared experience with others but I rarely really connect with my fellow swimmers like I did in that moment when we all looked up and watched together as this beautiful graceful animal briefly interrupted what we were doing and we were bound together.
It was a little pocket of pure joy and connection.
All in all, while this summer has been uneventful and a little dull, there are a lot of pockets of uplift and beauty that have made it more than bearable, and the more I focus on them and the sense of abundance that comes in midsummer, the better I feel. There are a lot of articles about staycations and micro-adventures and awe walks – all made up terms to make people who don’t have a real vacation feel better – and while I don’t use those words I share the sentiment, that there’s much wonder in daily life even if you don’t leave your neighborhood very often. I’m feeling a bit flat and uninspired in the words department lately, (the flip side of midsummer fecundity is ennui) so here are some images from my visual journal that capture how July is shaping up.
Flowers! We pass beautifully landscaped yards on our daily walks and while ours will never measure up, we do have a bright spread this time of year. The hydrangeas that haven’t bloomed the past few years are miraculously out in full force right now.
No red tomatoes yet but I can pick fresh herbs to sprinkle on my eggs, and get all sorts of seasonal veggies at the Farmers Market.
A neighbor set up one of those little free libraries and when I passed by the other day there was a copy of the novel The Underground Railroad. It’s a riveting read, and when I’m finished I’ll watch the film version on Amazon Prime.
Movies and TV!
In the meantime, I watched, and will likely watch again to appreciate the fine editing of performances and crowd footage, Summer of Soul, a documentary about the Black Woodstock in 1969, which took place in what is now called Marcus Garvey Park. It’s one of the parks I used to go to regularly for concerts and jazz festivals and it reminds me that before there were staycations there were summers of fabulous music for those who chose to stay put.
I’m also happy to have a weekly fix of the new Mike White series The White Lotus. He’s the creator of one of my favorite TV shows ever, Enlightenment. A real gem. Glad he has a new show to watch. (both available on HBO)
I’m not likely to get to many concerts except for the jazz festival up the street later this summer so I’m content listening to V’s Endless Playlist, an eclectic mix of tunes inspired by the broad range of music he listens to, from Aretha Franklin and the Temptations to Vampire Weekend, the Killers, Chance the Rapper, and Regina Spector…dozens of music makers he sings along with from many eras and genres.
When V is at his summer program (he’s still not going in the yard : ( I try to get at least a short rest where I lie on the hammock and look up at the trees, feeling fortunate for these little moments I find in the day to feel a sense of awe and delight.
What are your pockets of joy this summer?