It was one of those weeks. Our air-conditioning had broken, and tempers were rising along with the heat. In addition to hot, fitful sleep, I had awakened to a looming deadline. Finally I headed outdoors to see if I could at least catch a breeze while I worked.
As I was writing, I saw something in my peripheral vision. It was a young boy with a yellow T-shirt, a baseball cap and a large homemade sign. Is he promoting a car wash, I wondered? Surely it’s not a “buddy, can you spare a dime” sign?
As he got closer, I made out the words. “Lemonade.” I peered further down the street, and could just make out a tiny stand with another little boy anxiously waiting.
Part of me wanted to work, but another part knew that something essential about summer was calling and if I didn’t follow my heart I’d miss it. So I put aside my computer, leashed the dog, and walked down the street to two hopeful faces. They offered me a Dixie cup “sample” of their drink. Then with a small scooper they extracted 4 cubes from a tiny bucket, plopped them in a big glass and covered them with lemony liquid. Along with the flavor of the drink, I soaked in their pride at their entrepreneurship and homemade signs.
As I slowly walked home, sipping the lemonade, I noticed pomegranates ripening on a tree (had I missed those on all my earlier walks that week?). I thought about the fresh summer tomatoes our neighbors had dropped off, along with damp red beets with dirt still clinging to the roots. I remembered trying to sleep the night before, opening my window in desperation and finding myself calmed by the relaxing chorus of crickets as I lay awake in the moonlight.
Why had I forgotten all these summer moments and instead focused on my problems? I had been surrounded by the ripe, inviting pleasures of the season, yet hadn’t chosen to experience them.
Marge Piercy’s words came to me from “The Art of Blessing the Day”
“This is the blessing for rain after drought:
Come down, wash the air so it shimmers,
a perfumed shawl of lavender chiffon.
Let the parched leaves suckle and swell.
Enter my skin, wash me for the little
chrysalis of sleep rocked in your plashing.
In the morning the world is peeled to shining.”
I can get lost in my thinking and busyness and miss the season’s gifts. But when I open to the sensory pleasures right before me — the ones poured over ice and handed to me with shy pride — I come alive. I want to welcome all this in, letting it fill me up and flow into my creative expressions and ordinary moments…
Refresh with me. In early July, we’ll be moving into a place of pleasure, renewal and inner exploration at the Creative Soul mini-retreats. This is your last invitation — the early bird special ends this Friday, June 30. Pause, see if it calls to you, and come join us. All the details are here.