My youngest son gave me a flower one day. Love in his shining blue eyes, little arm extended. “Here mommy!” he said, with a big-little-boy smile. Sounds simple, but it was no small effort. He plucked it from from a stand of tiger lilies in Bayfield’s Memorial Park (don’t tell City Hall). I surreptitiously watched him spy the blossoms and trek across the rocks by the shore, one by one he picked his way across the boulders to the flowers, a big grin on his sweet face.
Rock by rock, he returned to me as I sat on my favorite one pretending not to see him, my feet cooling in the waves. It took him a good 10 minutes in all, and all the while he was thinking of me. Love is indeed grand.
Here we are again in our Bayfield in the sun. It’s come round again; long sunny days, heat rising, waves lapping, flags flying. After the rush of July Fourth weekend, but before the last gasp of Labor Day and Applefest. These long, lazy days of rock-sitting, people- and boat-watching, outdoor music, sailing lessons, dripping ice cream cones, pop machines, relaxed tourists and busy locals are here.
They are here, if briefly, and are divine, sublime; pure heaven, pure Northwoods. It is pure joy to carve out time to sit between the earth and water, beneath the sky. And carve we must; steal, beg, or borrow because summer is busy, I know, but fleeting; and downtime is necessary for a happy mind. We crave it, we need it, and sometimes we must just take it. Everything else can wait, unless, as my own wise and dear mother would say, “someone’s bleeding.” Triage your life. Define what is really important, what is meaningful, what you need and what you want right now in this moment. Then get on out there and enjoy it. That work will be there when you get back.
Now is your chance to grab a little summer, a little quiet time, a little sanity. Feel your shoulders relax and the rest of your body with it; breathe, smile, chat, doze. Find a rock; it’s the best seat in the house. Nature’s show is endlessly running. We simply have to grab a ticket; it’s free.
And if you’re patient, if you sit quietly enough, someone just might bring you a flower and a hug during intermission.
Take any old pebble, dull and dusty, just part of a road, and moisten it with spit, and all of its colors will awaken, as if you’d kissed the life back into it, as if it had been waiting for someone like you.
Ted Kooser, The Wheeling Year