Nine weeks after the summer solstice, and it’s still summer, although the season seems to be growing a little stale.
My spouse took a day off of work to use some vacation he can’t carry over into 2017, and to do some handy-type work around the house. In the morning, he used tools to improve the aesthetics of our home while I facilitated the improvement of our children’s skills in math, grammar, and writing. In the afternoon, we went on our walk as a family.
Walking with my partner along gave me the freedom to relax my diligent watch on the children a little. I lagged behind and took photos of flowers.
Unseen by spouse or children, I balanced my way across the fallen tree that my children sometimes traverse. I didn’t photograph this because I found I needed all of my attention to keep my balance. But I did take a photo of the section of the meadow that was purple two months ago and is now tinged yellow with goldenrod (maybe Solidago altissima).
I mentioned to a friend the other day that I feel like I’m on the cusp of some big change but that I know from experience that no big change is likely to materialize.
“It’s probably the start of the school year,” she suggested. She’s probably right. Even though we homeschool year-round, we’re not completely separate from the rhythms of the academic year.
Whatever the cause, I’ve been feeling a sense of urgency to get something significant moving before I turn forty in a few months. I’ve been making schedules and planning learning and self-improvement opportunities for myself—voice lessons, photography courses, daily writing practice, community service projects, a renewed commitment to practicing Spanish.
“Maybe I should learn Portuguese,” I suggested to my spouse as we walked back from the creek. There’s a large Portuguese population in our part of Massachusetts, and we hear Portuguese more often than we hear Spanish (but not nearly as often as we hear English).
“But you’ve already done so much work to learn Spanish,” my spouse reasoned. Though he didn’t say it, I could hear him worrying that I was going to lobby to purchase another Rosetta Stone course.
“I just think about how much the little Spanish I could speak deepened my experience when we lived in California, and I wonder if learning Portuguese would help give me a different perspective and open up new relationships here.” We brushed past the corn stalks, now taller than me.
“Maybe,” said my spouse. This time, I knew, he was thinking about how full my time already is and how I tend to pile on more interests and activities until I burn out and need to go fallow for a time.
He’s right. Even though I crave a lasting change, deeper connection, or some new direction, this is probably just the same old cycle, and I’ll jump enthusiastically into projects and good intentions until fatigue or fear rein me in again.