Thursday, July 5, 2012

Song of Summer

Personally, I can't wait to be bored out of my mind. It's summer, but I'm moving across the world in a few days so the pace of life has felt like warp speed of late. I think I hit a wall today.  I'm sick of running flat out or maybe I'm just out of gas. I don't know where to start with so much to do. I need to sell the cars but first must have paperwork and it needs to be cleaned; what to do with the canned goods some of which moved here with us five years ago; I pour out bottles of cooking wine, vinegar, and fish sauce, but there are more; I need to mail stuff to the States, but first I must sort what needs to be mailed, find a box, pack it, ship it, and remember the tape, pen, and addresses; I must earmark papers to keep or send, it all adds up to paralysis or at least it feels like tiny drops in a vast ocean of things to do.

I can do impossible things when I can't see them as impossible. One look at our house and I feel overwhelmed with a sense of it is not possible to pack up our lives. I'm not sure what that means other than I want to curl up under a blanket and wake up when it's over. I want to do everyday things, boring things, routine things. I do not want to move this mountain. I need to travel lighter.

It doesn't seem right that in summer I'm not laying in front of a fan saying, "Wanhnhnhnhnh." At least there should be a long hot sticky road trip, where you get to pull cold sodas from the ice chest in the back seat. I want to fall asleep and wake up warm and stuck to the couch.

The Mule, ever a difficult one to go to sleep, had me give her my pinky promise that I would check on her after the dishes were finished. I found her quiet but with the curtains pulled back, the window open, and the dehumidifier chugging away. I pointed out that the window should not be open if we are using the dehumidifier. She said, "I'm sorry, I wanted to listen to the cicadas." Indeed, they were singing. You can finally hear them. She has been waiting and waiting for them, these singers of the song of summer.

I began thinking about summer and what happens to summers as we become "the grown ups." The little things are the first to go. First you give up listening for the first sounds of summer. Instead of leaving your window open to the moist night air, the dehumidifier is humming. Instead of sleeping late, you get up early to do yard work before the heat of the day sets in. Instead of having days upon days of a whole lot of nothing to do, we schedule activities and studies and work too much. Does anyone choose to do nothing anymore?

I think it was better when I was a child and summertime was more about benign neglect. I was left to my own devices more or less for parts of the day, back when the TV only had four channels none of which were interesting. I read a lot of books instead. I ate a lot of drippy ice cream sandwiches too. I rode my bike all day. I sat around in the heat and thought of nothing. I'm not sure why I gave that up or why any of us give that up. We are all too busy. Ever notice how the lawn grows more when you neglect it? It's time for benign neglect to reign, it's summer. Maybe we can grow more in the quiet stillness of summer's heat like nature does.


“Good morning," said the little prince.
Good morning," said the merchant.
This was a merchant who sold pills that had been invented to quench thirst. You need only swallow one pill a week, and you would feel no need for anything to drink.
Why are you selling those?" asked the little prince.
Because they save a tremendous amount of time," said the merchant. "Computations have been made by experts. With these pills, you save fifty-three minutes in every week."
And what do I do with those fifty-three minutes?"
Anything you like..."
As for me," said the little prince to himself, "if I had fifty-three minutes to spend as I liked, I should walk at my leisure toward a spring of fresh water.”
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince


Tonight I'll celebrate the cicadas song with a little old fashioned reading. I hear a little angel might be coming over to help me sort out this mess tomorrow. Even if she merely sits on a chair and tells me what to do, I'll be grateful for the help to break from my move paralysis or maybe it's a combination of too many goodbyes, a trip to Legoland, and a trip to Tokyo, but dinner was worth it. When do I get to the just sit around and do nothing part?

The view from Tokyo Tower July 4, 2012