Two weeks ago, I shared with you my reflections on a book about wintering. And it has been a joy to hear from many of you who are now looking into the book I mentioned (by Katherine May; find it here), or reflecting on the principles of wintering, or simply giving yourselves permission to be in a winter season – despite what the thermostat may say.
Today, I find myself thinking about the opposite – about summering.
About the seasons when life is good, if very busy and full, and what we might learn from those times.
I’d love to hear your ideas, too! Here are a few that I am toying with now:
Summering is a time for being out – often that means outdoors, but it can also mean reaching out, as opposed to the reaching in of wintertime. It means opening your doors and windows, getting fresh breezes in, spending as many hours as possible (or tolerable) on your porch or patio or in your yard. It means seeking out connections and gathering opportunities, whether it’s a simple cookout with neighbors, or a big parade for Juneteenth or July Fourth.
Summering means abundance and freshness; piles of strawberries at the farmer’s market, and fresh herbs from window boxes. It means obvious, welcoming beauty: flowers blooming everywhere, magnificent sunsets, fireworks, chalk drawings on the sidewalk.
Summer is a time to soak things in: the sunlight, the cool water of the lake, the long twilight hours before a late sunset. To relish in abundance, whether that’s too many zucchinis from your garden or endless cries for more time in the sprinkler.
It is a time to store up those excess tomatoes and fresh fruits – freezing, canning, whatever you like – for a time when everything is a little scarcer. But also to store up memories and experiences for when the season draws us inward, saps our energy, moves us toward less.
It is a time to let some of our careful routines and rhythms lapse, when it feels right, in favor of spontaneity and delight.
Sometimes, if we are lucky, the summertimes of our soul will line up with those of our hemisphere. I hope that is the case for you.
But if you’re in a winter season, rest assured that it has lessons of its own, and practices that will help you through.
And always, always, be assured of two things: that these seasons will pass in time, but that God will be with you – with all of us – in each and every season. Thanks be to God! Amen.