We are used to thinking of summer days as the lazy ones.
Heat presses us into a hammock. Vacation puts us right down in a beach chair. The long sunny days say linger, sit still, right here, for a while.
But while the pace of a summer day may be slow, by day’s end I usually find that I have ticked just about everything on my list. Even exercise–so tricky to find time for in winter–fits itself into my day more naturally. There was that half hour in a pool with the kids. There was that unanticipated walk to catch the sunset after dinner. There was all that weeding I made myself tackle before breakfast.
These days, there is no reason not to keep my seat in this seat by my computer. There is no vacation on my calendar. There is no growing garden to draw me outdoors. The kids are in school. Even dinner, most nights, is a slow simmering soup or an easy crockpot meal.
I have no excuses, then. None at all.
No excuses for the slump of my shoulders. No excuses for the brain that simply will not settle down to the matter of words. No excuses for the breakfast dishes that do still sit on the counter. Surely this is a day in need of some motivational slogan. Awake! Seize! Conquer! Tackle! Grab this day by the horns and put it in its place!
Are those the attitudes I need in order to better cultivate the days of my life?
I am not convinced that they are. I do think they are attitudes well suited to modern life. When an entire months’ work is visible on our calendars and computer spreadsheets, we can feel that each work day is a sink-or-swim proposition.
But once upon a time, work showed up in daily increments.A week’s worth of milk cannot be gathered in one morning. The farmer must go out every morning and every evening. This year’s wheat cannot be sown and harvested at once. First, the seeds. Only much later, the harvest.
Work once had the built-in lull. Work once came with a natural pause even if that pause was simply nightfall and the need to preserve the only candle.
This January, I am taking back the lull. I am practicing the pause. I’m putting off till tomorrow the work that–let’s face it–will still be there tomorrow.
- I am doing it with tea breaks (around 11 and 3 pm).
- I am doing it with seed catalogs (this is the stuff dreams are made of).
- I am doing it with Bible, prayer book, and devotional (remember those words, be still?).
- I am doing it with mystery novels.
- I am also doing it–when they’ll let me–with games of Clue and our new favorite, Latice, with Harry Potter read-alouds (though as much as I love Harry, book five is a bit of a long slog, isn’t it?), and, when the weather is just right, ice skating on the neighborhood retention pond.
In my own way, I am seizing the day. I am making sure that tomorrow’s work does not disrupt the very important matters of this day.
I am practicing procrastination.