I wrote this poem in late July, and since then I’ve been following my own advice and taking it easy. But August has been unusually cool, and the past week has felt more like September. Maybe that’s why I feel ambition creeping back in ahead of schedule. Why wait for Labor Day when I can jump start my creativity now?
Lazy days of summer
I gave myself a gift this summer:
Permission to be lazy.
Not physically slothful, necessarily—
I walk my dog, I garden, I swim and go to Nia.
I paint my walls in forest green and cantaloupe orange
A little at a time. No rush whatsoever.
I’m running an experiment this summer:
How does it feel to jettison ambition?
No goals, no objectives,
Nothing that can’t be put off till tomorrow.
Most of all, no guilt trips. When I wake,
Sometime after ten, I lie in bed
And contemplate the many things
I could do today—or not.
It’s okay either way. No one gives a damn
Except my dog and cat.
Sirius wants his walk, Lunesta’s ravenous
For breakfast, plaintively meowing.
But once I satisfy the beasts,
The day is mine to do with as I please.
My mind is on vacation for the summer.
Sitting in my garden, sipping a gin and tonic,
I gaze at a scarlet petalled flower.
As minutes drift slowly by and shadows lengthen,
I feel July slip sliding into the past.
I’m savoring every sunny day this summer,
Basking in the moment. At seventy-five,
I’ve no idea how many seasons I’ll survive,
How many more Julys I’ll live to see.
But assuming I’ve got years or even decades left,
Is this how I want to spend them?
If every day ahead were like this summer,
I’d suffocate from boredom. Go crazy,
Eat and drink myself into obese oblivion.
Even the best vacations have a finite lifespan.
Eventually endless leisure turns malignant,
Metastasizes, turns the mind to mush.
But the gift I gave myself this summer
Comes with an expiration date,
Otherwise known as Labor Day.
That’s when energy and ambition sweep back in
On the wings of a stiff September breeze.
At least, I hope they will.
How has your summer been? I hope you’ve been at least a little self-indulgent. Do you mourn its passing, or are you eagerly anticipating fall? I’d love to hear from you. And please remember to subscribe in order to be notified of new posts.