Posts tagged ‘summer’
Summer is sweet.
With their summer research projects wrapping up, the boys briefly returned home for a couple of weeks before heading back to university life. It’s been pleasant days of biking and playing around – morning runs for coffee, paddling on the river, family bike rides, catching up with old friends, dinnertime humor around the table. Summer is sweet.
But eventually, as the sunsets come a little earlier each evening, it begins to feel like time to return to familiar routines. Back to school, back to friends and regular schedules … all as it should be. And as much as I love them and will miss them as they leave, I think we are all ready to turn the next page, to return to the story.
I have enjoyed the break of being away from things – putting down the camera more often, leaving the computer to sleep, and spending more time in one-to-one conversation rather than cyberspeak. I’ve loved the warm, lazy days with my family … and yet as the weather begins to cool, and the books and bags are packed for the semester ahead, I happily anticipate rides yet to come, and the return to routine.
Meanwhile … scenes from summer days.
My summer days tend to follow a different rhythm. Morning swims. Evening rides. Abbreviated daytime trips to avoid the air that feels like being stuck in a convection oven, or avoiding the heat-induced thunderstorms.
Daytime hours have been filled with books, reading, and the other (often ignored) exercises in creativity. While I miss long daytime rides, the wandering and exploring, I feel good about the time I’ve spent on these other things, the expanded productivity … all while waiting for cooler, dryer weather to return, and resuming my more rambling ways.
And – as evidenced by my lack of posts lately – I have enjoyed taking some time to unplug and disconnect. I’ve been reading a fascinating book, Fast Media, Media Fast, by Dr. Thomas Cooper, professor of visual and media arts at Emerson College in Boston. It’s about making a conscious choice to disengage – to fast – from the barrage of always-on mass-media, the distractions of the e-world, and the devices that we are increasingly becoming dependent and even addicted to.
I appreciate that he does not take an “anti-” or negative approach; he does not want eliminate media any more than someone fasting from food wants to eliminate food. Rather, he wants to use the break – the diet or full-blown fast – to re-evaluate and examine how we approach and use media. The goal behind the experience is to examine our thinking and opinion-forming process without the influence of 24-7 breaking news and 1,000 channels of cable television; to take stock of our lives outside of e-mail, text messaging, twitter, facebook, instagram, youtube and blogging – and to physically experiencing the world directly rather than thru secondhand sources and without an electronic screen in front of us. Which for me, would eliminate the use of not only my television, radio, and iDevices but also my camera. My bike stays.
While I have not yet started a full-blown fast, I have gone on some degree of a media diet, and plan to attempt a full, fasting, disconnection – if only for a week or two – within the next month. I just want the experience, even briefly or temporarily.
I want to hear myself think again. I want to re-evaluate the “ratio, quality, enjoyment and originality of what I ingest (as a consumer) versus what I express (as a creator)”. I want to lose some “unneccessary mental weight”. And I guess I want the challenge of finding “a Walden in my own mind.” I want my daily off-bike routine to have more moments like those I experience while on my bike – the direct experience, the mental clarity, the sensory balance, the perspective.
Wish me luck…
The days follow a pattern – a pleasant pattern. Cycling, paddling, taking pictures, conversations, laughter, rest. Watching the sun go down. And come up again. The summer is passing so quickly, sometimes I feel like I can’t quite get it all in.
Riding into town on Thursday, a trip on the Greenway. It’s always heartening, inspiring, to see others on bikes – and their willingness and enthusiasm to stop and strike up a conversation. (And yes – their agreeing to let me take their photos :). When we’re not boxed up in cars, I believe we’re much more inclined to interact, to converse. It makes us more approachable, more a part of the community. Stopping to talk with two other cyclists (and one of the Greenway police officers) and talking about the merits of the Greenway for getting across town, observing the increase in ride-share around town, and just enjoying the simple pleasure of having a “commons” – a place to walk, to ride, to just stop and sit.
The heat continues, and the evening continues to be one of the nicest times to get out. A time to stow the camera in the Xtracycle and just take a leisurely spin on roads close to home. Enjoying the “golden hour”, the hum of the cicadas.
Lazy Saturday mornings spent exploring the river by kayak. Flat grey skies, calm still water – like glass. Different than cycling, yet oddly similar, moving through the landscape. A lesson in patience this morning – spending close to an hour slowly approaching a Little Green Heron, who graciously let me get incredibly close.
Ending the weekend riding with “my boys”. Another summer day, another ride. The sun comes up and goes down. It passes so quickly. I feel like I can’t quite get it all in.