Monday, July 2, 2012

remembering summer


The onset of summer opens a floodgate of memories, mainly memories of growing up in Maine and experiencing hot days, cool nights, running around from dawn until dusk, consuming obnoxious amounts of lemonade, food off the grill and the like. The memories bring so much joy to my life as living far away from family can trigger many bouts of home sickness, especially when thinking about a lobster feed in the backyard. The summers meant my mom was home with us since being a teacher provided her a perfect schedule with kids
When I was little, it never even crossed my mind that summers would eventually just blend in with the rest of the seasons; getting up, showering, grabbing breakfast, heading to work, coming home, and doing it all over again; 5 days on, 2 days off. There lies a fragile innocence when you don't anticipate this fact.

Since I moved out of my parents house almost 10 years ago and headed west, every summer has proven to be an adventure even though it didn't fit the "10 weeks of fun" cookie cutter summers. The summer after my freshman year of college, I stayed in Colorado nursing a sprained ankle from a climbing injury and waited for my Wilderness First Responder Course to start. I slept on a couch in a house with two friends who drank way too much alcohol and smoked way too much pot. I scraped by on granola, yogurt, and reduced produce and deli meals from the local grocery store. That summer, some guy friends who were renting a house down the street took my under their wing, invited me to their bbq's, and let me sip on good beer while we played cards at their dining table. I fell in love with one of them and the following fall, we were dating.

The summer after graduating college, I took a 3 week solo trip to Nepal and the Himalayas, trekked to Everest Base Camp, slept in tea huts, ate dahl, and meditated in Buddhist monasteries, receiving spiritual teachings from sherpas and monks alike. After that three week trip, my dad and I drove to Seattle where I would start my first job.

My first summer in Seattle was all work. As an intern trying to earn a full time spot in the company, I took on lots of projects and immersed myself in everything corporate training related. I was on the Microsoft Campus a lot of hours and yes, my internship did land me a full time position with the company and I stayed their for 2.5 years.

Then there was my first summer as an Assistant Summer Camp Director; a dream job of sorts. Chaco tans, suntans, and water balloon fights with kids. Mix in some weddings, a funeral, and a little burnout, I wrapped up my second summer at summer camp realizing that I was too tired to enjoy my own summer.

To make a long story short, I am now here, embarking on my 5th Seattle summer and settling in to a quiet, domesticated life of sorts with adventure, gardening, sipping delicious drinks on my deck, and remembering all the summers past full of laughter, hard work, and pure, uninhibited fun. Summer is a time to not only revel in the memories of summers past, but to create new memories and traditions as they spontaneously emerge whether it is happy hours on a deck, hikes to a new peak, or picnics with loved ones. All the memories count. They all make our summers worth living for.

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