Well, I’m back from fighting pirates on the Chesapeake Bay—or were we the pirates? When you play with a 4 year old, it’s sometimes hard to tell. I’ve constructed a variety of forts, as much variety as you can have on a 37 foot sailboat. I’ve drawn pictures of monkeys, including a pirate monkey. I’ve written “every letter that exists” (my nephew’s request), which made me reflect on alphabets, and how few of them I can reproduce.
What else did I do? Let me reflect . . .
--I read great books. More on this in a later post. But I’ve had a fabulous time getting lost in fiction, both recently written and a classic.
--I helped prepare dinners for Vacation Bible School kids and helpers. Even though we don’t have an industrial kitchen at my church (weird zoning regulations don’t even allow us to have a regular stove like you’d have at our church), we had a great time.
--I heard the best Barbershop singing in America. My dad is a member of the Alexandria Harmonizers, and they had a huge concert on June 27. Not only did we get to hear them before they went on to place 5th in the International Competition in Philadelphia, we also heard the Westminster Chorus, who went on to win first place. We also heard all sorts of quartets. Great fun!
--I spent a week on my sister’s sailboat, with my spouse, my sister, her husband, and her son (the above-mentioned 4 year old). It’s always fascinating to me to spend time in such a different setting. It makes me think about all the things I think I need, and how living on a sailboat makes me reassess. In terms of clothes, do I really need as many clothes as I have, when I wear the same things week after week? Do I really need gourmet cooking or am I just as happy with simple meals?
--I enjoyed unseasonably cool weather, part of what made the time on the sailboat so enjoyable.
--I had fun with different art forms. My nephew loves to draw and paint, so we spent lots of time doing that. I had forgotten about the blendability of simple crayons. I spent time with the digital camera. I helped transform blankets into forts and movie theatres. We played dress up—sort of. My nephew needed a scabbard for his sword, and we played with different possibilities. We made puppets. Again, great fun.
--Playing with my nephew made me remember my favorite job. The year after undergraduate school, I worked in a summer care program for elementary school children. We went to movies, we had arts and crafts every day, we went to every local park, we read great books, we played outside and inside, and had a great summer. At the time, I made minimum wage with no benefits, which was fine for a summer, but not sustainable for a lifetime. What a shame.
--I watched chunks of The Lion King and Peter Pan, which gave me an opportunity to compare animation styles at opposite ends of the century. I'm not sure which I like better. Both struck me as gorgeous. It's also interesting to me that most children I've seen don't care about seeing a movie from beginning to end. Again, being with my nephew makes me think about narrative in different ways.
--I saw the show Rain at Wolf Trap. I don’t quite know how to explain this experience. The 4 musicians impersonate the Beatles at various points in their careers. There’s also a multi-media show. It was amazing. During parts of the show, we all sang. There I was, in a fabulous national park, as the full moon lit up the night sky, and our voices rose. I expect that when I’m 95 years old and slightly confused, I’ll remember seeing the Beatles, but it will have been this show.
In short, I had a wonderful vacation. I've returned rested and renewed--and plunged right back into a full work day yesterday, meetings and training sessions and no down time at all. I wish I had planned for a softer re-entry. But I'm happy to have had just the kind of vacation that I needed. I'm lucky in all sorts of ways: I have a great family with whom I enjoy spending vacation time, and I have a job waiting for my return, a job which I don't approach with dread.
The Summer of Reading
4 months ago