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Summer #1: A menu of enjoyment
PLUS: Building out the garden, evening walks, and the sorbet you must make.
Summer is here, and life feels immediately transformed. I’ve been drinking cold hibiscus tea, reading books on the lawn, gardening, gathering huge bundles of wildflowers (which the cats promptly tear apart), eating smoothie bowls and sorbet, and trying to spend as much time outside as possible.
We installed a big arch in the deer-proof garden this weekend, and I’m going to grow climbing roses on it. Back in Portland, our house was covered in roses, but out here the deer decimate them. Now that we have some critter protection, it’s time to rebuild the collection. Kenn also sawed some old barrels in half to make planters, which will go in the four corners of the garden, safe from deer.
Lately, we’ve been going to evening walks down to the creek after dinner. It brings to mind all the summer evening walks in all the places we’ve lived together: Burbank, Berkeley, San Francisco, Oakland, Portland. It’s different now, but not so different. We walk and chat, sometimes aimlessly about the cats or the chores, sometimes about esoteric things like dreams and the unconscious mind.
More and more, I am convinced that the most important thing is just learning how to enjoy life as it comes. It sounds trite, but it’s quite a project, one you can work on each day.
A Menu of Summer Enjoyment
I got the idea of creating a menu of activities (rather than a to-do list) from my very wise co-worker, Haley.
I’m going to use this idea to help me enjoy the next month, which I am completely taking off work to simply rest, recharge, and learn more about the balance between creative action and neurotic, compulsive productivity.
I want to make things just for the fun of it, abandon “shoulds” for a while, and explore life without expectations.
To that end, rather than making a list of things to do with my new free time, I’ve created a menu of summer enjoyments that I can pick and choose from. Perhaps this list will spark some ideas for you too.
Read a book by the water. I plan to pack a picnic, a book, and dip my feet in the Clckamas river.
Make jam and pickles and can them for winter.
Redesign and decorate my creative space (my shed is coming along, just needs lighting!)
Learn a new skill. I’m going to take a class and learn more about drawing in Procreate, I think.
Sew some things to pretty up the house (curtains, pillows, napkins, etc)
Make some accessories, like easy zip pouches and tote bags.
Make gifts for other people
Visit with friends
Hang some art on the walls
Write, journal, work on this newsletter (I have lots of ideas to process here!)
Start a quilt
Take naps (should I buy a hammock?)
Go for hikes (one thing I do have planned is a backpacking trip at the end of the month)
What’s on your summer menu?
Head, Heart, Hands
Things to make us think, feel, and do.
You don’t need a vision (paywall, sorry). I have so many thoughts about this. But my philosophy is basically that life is like a piece of writing, or creating a painting. Sometimes you have a vision in mind of what you want to create, and sometimes you start creating and see where it goes. It’s messy, imperfect, and there are always false starts, no matter what.
Really excited for Anne Helen Petersen’s new feature, Garden Study! Also, yes to “grandparent hobbies.”
VIDEO: How aimless creativity ruins your life. Some great metaphors here for thinking about your own creativity, and how you exercise it.
If there’s one book that will improve your summer, it is The Perfect Scoop by David Liebovitz. The sorbets are just outstanding, as is everything else I’ve ever made from it. This week, I made the strawberry sorbet after having it at a friend’s house and there is just nothing better on a warm day.