Friday, June 17, 2011

Summer Vacation

"School's out for summer" goes the old rock 'n roll song. And indeed it is, finally. Today was my last day at work until August! Sometimes it seemed like the school year would never end, but really, wasn't it just a few weeks ago that it started? How is it that time seems to crawl and rush past simultaneously? Does it have anything to do with being 50-something? A Sunday School teacher once explained that when you're five, and waiting a year until next Christmas or your birthday takes forever, it's because a year is 1/5 of your life. That's a pretty big chunk. On the other hand, when you're 50, a year is a mere 1/50 of your life, and thus goes by much more quickly. If I accept that reasoning, my summer vacation will fly by, feeling like a few days instead of seven weeks.

But wow! How many working people get seven consecutive weeks of vacation?? Not too many, I don't think. Even though I have no choices about timing, what a blessing it is to have most of the summer off from my job. I'll still be working, mind you, on painting the farmhouse kitchen, pantry, and dining room, cleaning my own house, yard work, canning our garden, and various other projects that have been piling up since last August. You see, when school starts, normal life ceases and for the most part, I'm in survival mode until summer vacation rolls around once more. I hate living like that, but the stress of public education these days saps most of my energy, and by the time I get home and get the necessary chores done, I'm beat. Now you understand why I love summer vacation so much! At least when I'm beat at the end of the day, I've hopefully made some progress on that long to-do list that persistently waits for attention at home.

Many years ago I found out that I can't cram 10 months of catching up and leisure activities into two months in the summer. If I try, I'm just as stressed out as when school is in session. I'm still learning, but I'm getting a better at living spontaneously during the summer. It's nice to be able to stay up late watching a good movie, reading a good book, or visiting with friends and know that I won't have to drag myself out of bed at 5:00 a.m. the next morning. When my husband says, "Come with me to do this or that," I can go, knowing I'll be able to get to what I had planned later, or tomorrow, even. And it's sooo nice on Sunday evenings to realize that I don't have to start another work week the next day.

Here I am, on the eve of yet another summer vacation. The whole seven weeks is before me, with only a handful of meetings or appointments on the calendar. I'll try not to think about going back to school in August until August gets here. And I hope I can keep my mind from wandering to school thoughts again and again, like it tends to do from August until June. It's summer vacation at last! And that is sweet indeed.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Living at the End of the Rainbow

They say that there is gold at the end of the rainbow. I haven't found it yet, even though I discovered this evening that we're living right where it should be. It's been a stormy Saturday, one of those when the sun shines bright and hot, not a cloud in the sky. Then the white puffy clouds that are so pretty begin to move in, and before you know it, someone turns out the light and the air smells like rain. The thunder rolls over and over itself as the storm moves in, the rain pours down, the lightning flashes. Then, before it's had time to get a good start, it's all over with the sun beating down once more. An hour or two later, the whole process starts all over again.

It was after one of those storms this evening that the rainbow appeared. A double one, actually. I almost missed it, and wonder of wonders, this time I had the camera handy. This rainbow was an arc of color spanning the sky right above my house, pulsing with intensity. All the colors were easily visible: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet. (You remember the ROY G BIV acronym we all learned in school.) I snapped some photos and didn't realize there were actually two rainbows until I uploaded them to the computer.

I've often joked about needing to find a pot of gold on our property to fund our dreams. This evening I could have started digging right behind the house. But if I dig around in my heart a little, I think I'll find that there has been golden treasure here all along. It shows up in small ways: my husband's little love notes on my shopping lists, our dogs who always love me, no matter how grouchy I am, the night noise of insects as I drift off to sleep this time of year, the comfort of a safe, peaceful home where love dwells. So, I have found my pot of gold after all. It's the sweet life at the end of the rainbow, right here, right now.