There are just those times when I can find my Muse and chain her to my desk, but the old gal just sits there and glares at me while she files her nails. No amount of typing, walking, napping or sipping tea will inspire a single word to be written. Not even scotch helps.
It is summertime, after all.
Maybe my brain just says, “look, the weather is finally nice and you need to get outside…soooo…I’m outta here.” It really sucks when ambition and motivation have diametrically opposite priorities.
I can push through and force myself to write, but there is something to be said for just sitting outside and immersing oneself in the warmth and the myriad of sights, sounds and smells of summer. The distant growl of a lawnmower, while annoying at 7:00 AM on a Saturday, is still a quintessential summer sound. To be able to delight in the joyous chorus of the birds, the drone of insects, the laughter of children, the laughter and animated conversations of your neighbours who are enjoying a barbeque and obviously having more fun than you are. There is something wonderful about catching the delicious, savoury smells of that barbeque, the smoky scent of someone’s fire pit on a late evening, the green, earthy smell of cut grass, of flowers and trees as they waft by on the warm summer breeze.
Who wants to be inside, writing?
There is so much inspiration that drifts by on a hot summer night. Maybe not so much in words, but in sinuous recollections and warm emotions that slink past to brush against my shoulder and ruffle my hair. Picture images and echoes of laughter and good feelings of summers long past live in full-blown color in my memories. The sound of a sprinkler transports me to carefree youth, cloaked in sunshine and drenched in droplets of crystalline water, back when moonlit nights were magical and endless and demanded my attendance.
Remembrances of my childhood are glossed over by a haze of beauty that was painted in the summer.
Remembrances that stretch like a gossamer spider’s web through the branches of a tree, capturing glimmering moments of perfection, droplets of dew on the delicate strands, spun by happy memories and childish idealism. So wispy, so short-lived, so simple yet so complex. Fragile naiveté, aware only of the beauty.
I remember the joy I felt when school finally let out and the whole summer stretched before me, vibrant and exciting, bursting with potential. I lived my summers on my bike or at the community swimming pool or at lakes, hiking up hills to look out over the town or climbing trees to listen, just listen, to the voice of the wind through the branches. When it got too hot, my sisters and I would ride our bikes to read books in the air-conditioned sanctuary of the library. Stretched out on my bed in my room with the summer breeze sneaking in through the open windows to tease the white eyelet curtains, I would write stories and draw, living in the fantasy world of my imagination.
Summer meant absolute freedom.
One of the greatest disappointments of my life was growing up and having to work and no longer getting a summer vacation. No wonder grownups are so stressed. We no longer have the freedom to climb trees and run through the sprinkler and daydream on hill tops any more. Well, I could do those things, but my neighbours would look askance at an overweight 51-year-old woman in an elastically-challenged swimsuit, running through the sprinkler on their front lawn by herself, or silently perched in a tree on a Tuesday afternoon. People are so judgmental.
It is such a difficult thing, on a beautiful summer morning, to get out of bed, put on real clothes and ride the bus for 40 minutes in order to sit all day in an air-conditioned office, there to work on things that have nothing to do with swimming in lakes, climbing hills or riding bikes.
Is it any wonder then, that I find the task of writing so arduous in the summer, when the sun is high and the temperatures are warm, when green trees beckon me outside? Summertime should be about joy and exploration, about freedom and fun. It should be about embracing the Earth and flying kites in the wind and soaking up the warmth of the sun. Summertime flits by with the erratic, graceful and fleeting dance of a butterfly, demanding rapt attention and wonderment.
Who can write when my inner child is tugging insistently on my sleeve and pointing out the window, where adventures await and the siren call of lazy days, fire pits and gardens can be heard? Who can write when there are wooded paths to hike, trees to climb and rivers to cross?
Who can write when the stories that I wish to write want to be reflected on my soul in images and memories, sensations and feelings?
This is not a thing of paper, but a creation of the heart.
So forgive me but I need to go. The summertime requires my presence.