Bookgirl has a great post about her planned carpe diem summer. Her post has all sorts of applications, from our individual lives, to a great teaching idea that incorporates the British Romantic poets. She says, "I’m not going to go fight in a War of Independence in Greece, get a fever, and die. I’m not that ambitious. These are just small moments. I’m starting a list."
Her list contains all sorts of things she'd like to do this summer, things like going to the beach more often, having picnics, going to the zoo, going to a drive-in movie.
I love the idea of having a list. I've found that having a list of books I plan to read during the year not only helps me remember some of the books I meant to read, but it keeps me reading more in general. Maybe I should generate a carpe diem list every so often.
So, what would be on my list this summer? Let's see . . .
--go to the beach more often (why live here, after all, with all the extra expense, if I'm not going to the beach?).
--go kayaaking in our local park
--swim in my friends' pools
--make homemade ice cream
--grill corn on the cob
--go to one of the tourist attractions in the area where I haven't gone before, like Vizcaya
--SCUBA or snorkel more
--go to yoga class more regularly
--finish creating the fountain that we started building last year
I'd like to have items from my childhood on the list, like chasing fireflies, but we don't have fireflies down here. But some of the things on the list are from my childhood, like homemade ice cream and grilled foods and watermelon.
In some ways, my list feels like a bit of a cheat. I'm likely to do a lot of these things, like eating watermelon and swimming in friends' pools, anyway, list or no list.
One of my colleagues at work told me that I have a rich life, and I felt a bit surprised. In some respects, I do have a rich life; I have time for creative pursuits, I read widely, I have friends who are willing to meet me for lunch, I have a spouse who's willing to have adventures with me, and I have a bit of extra money and a bit of extra discretionary time. I'm lucky in many respects.
Now, if I could just hush my inner voice, which says, "No, if I had a truly rich life, I'd be spending the summer in a French vineyard. I'd be the poet-in-residence at that vineyard. I'd be paid to sit on a flagstone patio, sip wine, and write blog posts about the whole experience."
Of course, I recognize these tendencies. I wrote a poem about it. I won't post the whole thing, because I'm hopeful it will be published elsewhere before I post it here. But here's a stanza from my poem "Tuscany Dreams":
No one mentions the cost of phone
calls to all the ones left behind in the move
to Tuscany. It’s all sun-drenched
colors and fresh foods, and no one suffers
homesickness in Tuscany.
The Summer of Reading
5 weeks ago