Monday, June 18, 2012

Livin' Easy

Summertime ... and the livin' is easy ...
Fish are jumpin' ...
And the cotton is high ...

Deanna's post on Friday reminded me of the lyrics from George Gershwin's Summertime and I began to think (always a dangerous thing): Remember when summertime living really was easy?

I do! When I was a child, summer days and summers themselves seemed to last forever. As Harper Lee tells us in the first chapter of her classic novel, To Kill a Mockingbird,

A day was twenty-four hours long but seemed longer.

Our days were filled with swimming holes, catching fireflies, ice cream, bicycle riding, laying in the grass watching the clouds roll by all the while imagining shapes; always outdoors no matter how hot it was for few of us had air conditioning.

Ah! Those were halcyon days!

As I look about me now, it seems that we've lost the magic of easy summertime living. Do kids these days even know how to stare at the sky and let their imaginations wander? It seems we have camps, organized sports, various lessons, travel ... every minute of the school break is scheduled with some activity. And don't forget all the electronic gizmos Linda told us about last week.

We adults are just as bad. If our kids are still home, we're frantically making sure they don't get bored, scheduling this, scheduling that, driving them hither, driving them yon. For ourselves, we struggle to cross just one more thing off our to-do list before bedtime.

... *sigh* ...

It seems Claudia was of a like mind when she wrote her latest post on her personal blog, Dipity Road, where she shared this gorgeous photo that so beautifully depicts what I've been thinking. With her permission, I'm happy to share it with you because I know you'll love it, too.

So today let's continue to muse on this topic of "summertime". My proposal is for all of us to take time to "exhale". That's right. Stop dead in your tracks. Breathe in. Breathe out. Look around. Smell the roses or whatever else is blooming near you. Lie in the grass and watch the clouds roll by. Catch some fireflies.

We photographers like to brag about capturing the beauty in our everyday lives but do we really do it? Or are we so busy on the treadmill of life that we only do a middling job? I'll be the first to confess that for the past several weeks, I've just been doing a middling job of it. So for today, at least, exhale. Look around, really look around at your world.

As for me, I'm heading out to the back porch with a good book ... as soon as it cools off.

... now hush little baby 
don't you cry ...

While you're exhaling, let your imagination run wildly abstract and conjure up some fabulous abstract photos to post on our Flickr page for our theme, Attraction to Abstraction. Be sure to label them "ATA".


AFishGirl said...

Oh, who wrote this post? I can't see the signature. It's so wondeful. It's a huge statement about the frenetic pace of life now. This esssay resonates on so many levels. Great stuff, whoever you are!

Dotti said...

It's me, Fishgirl!!! You should have known. As soon as I checked the post this a.m., I caught that so it's there now. Too busy livin' easy! :-)


heyjudephotography said...

Dotti, this post brought me right back to my childhood when summer seemed to go on forever! Great images, great post. (And we all seem to be thinking on similar paths here...)

Anonymous said...

What a refreshing post Dotti! I love that song and I could hear it playing in the background as I read your post. As a working mom with young kids I can totally relate to being over scheduled. I feel as though I need to pencil in some free time for them because every moment seems to be filled! I miss the simple summers.

Deanna said...

Summertime was always the best time for me as a child. We really didn't have much TV, certainly no electronic games, no cell phones and because there was a lack of all that, summer was a time for doing all those things you said, swimming, sunning, playing games (canasta every afternoon when it got too hot to play outside). Yes, these were the livin' easy days. And today I am headed to the country to find me some country barns and easy livin.

janel said...

Wonderful post. I can SO remember those "halcyon days". What sweet memories......playing outside, running in for Kool-Aide, bare feet, cooling off in front of the giant many good things. Thanks for the memories and thanks for this poignant prompt.

Dotti said...

Isn't it true? When we were children, summers seemed endless. Nowadays, they whiz by. I always say January and February are so much longer than July and August.


Dotti said...

And while you're scheduling the free time in for your kids, join them! I'd love to see photos that the three of you took while lying in the grass looking at the clouds. :-)


Dotti said...

Don't you know it, Deanna! Summertime used to be magical, now it just seems to fly by in a blur. Can't wait to see what your easy livin' country tour today yields.


PS - Love your new bio photo on our sidebar.

Dotti said...

Hi, Janel! Yes, halcyon days .. do they even happen any more? It's wonderful to have these magic memories and to have them reawakened ... and better yet, to try to recapture them as best we can in our crazy world of 2012.


terriporter said...

Thanks for recalling those wonderful summer memories, Dotti! And Deanna, I had forgotten about the long summer days spent playing Canasta! Because of my summer memories of lazy days, I made sure my kids weren't overcommitted during the summer and had plenty of time to just play. Now I'm doing the same for my grandson. Summers are too precious to spend them rushing around. It's time to relax and enjoy!

gina said...

Yes, I feel lucky I have so many wonderful memories from my laid-back childhood: reading comic books for hours, dress-up play, games and yes, I too played canasta almost every evening with my family. Dotti, you are so right about how childhood has changed in the 21st century -- even my 3 year old grandkids are (over)scheduled with activities. What's really scary is seeing how the teens and young adults are so addicted to their cell phones, they can't seem to ever put them down. We all need to to take a deep breath and slow down.

Kim Stevens said...

Well, I can remember those days as well . . . was just thinking about that and the fireflies, kick the can, red light green light, catching crawdads in the creek behind my house. Being gone until lunch and then again until dinner.... We have always had layed back summers with our kids and I'm not one to want to run around all the time. We just got back from our vacation and I'm having a hard time plugging back in...all I want to do is sit on the front porch and sing "You Are My Sunshine" to the lizards! haha The like it.... : )

Dotti said...

How funny ... Reading about you and Deanna, and Gina below, playing Canasta and I stopped to think if we ever played indoors during the day. If we did, I have selective amnesia and do not remember it. I do remember many evenings of "Clue" and very intense games of "Uno" with the adults. Scrabble was another game we often played. During the day, though, we were outside, usually near a body of water.


Dotti said...

Childhood has changed. Some of the new things are better; some not so much. It's definitely time for us all to unplug from time to time and reconnect with the person sitting across from us.


Dotti said...

Welcome home, Kim! It's so delightful to hear that you try to preserve the easy, breezy days of summer. I've vowed to try to do that here with my granddaughter every day. I have to confess, today was not one of those days: Three hours of running errands. UGH! However, we're hangin' now! Off to watch the clouds roll by.


stephmull said...

I love this, Dotti! I feel more relaxed just after reading it! I can relate to working mom, summers often fly by like the other months of the year without much rest or easy livin'. I appreciate your reminder to slow down and watch the clouds go by!

Claudia@DipityRoad said...

Spot on my friend... When i wrote my post I had been eating lunch at a park when i saw 3 moms and their kids all sitting on a bench looking at their phones! AAACCCK!! why weren't they running and playing?

I love my lazy summer memories and am trying to enjoy them this summer too.

Nice post hon.


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