“There is more to life that increasing its speed.” – Mahatma Gandhi
Summer starts early in desert. The temperatures are rising. Last week we reached our first one hundred degree day. With the switch of seasons, the days move in a slower pace. My daughter is officially out of school and will spend the majority of her time sharing my space. When she is out on summer break, the rhythm of morning commences differently. I try to wake early, either to write or run, a habit I’ve adopted over the last few years. When I return, my daughter is usually awake, making her usual requests for breakfasts.
The cadence feels slower because I am not shouting out commands like ,”Hurry up and finish your breakfast,” or “Did you put your homework in your backpack?” or “Have you filled your water bottle?” Instead, there are no questions, but a definite shift in how we conduct our usual routine. I sip my coffee with purpose, smelling the aroma, tasting the hazelnut flavor as it lands on my lips and my glance gravitates toward my daughter. Her hair falls around her face like a waterfall and her cheeks still possess the softness of a little girl who is not quite grown. I smile and let her know that I am heading toward my office to begin my day. She lingers in the kitchen, but I know in thirty minutes her feet will scamper into my space just as I gain some momentum in my writing. I pause. I might answer a question, give her some directions on what to do, or just smile.
These brief interruptions are expected. Sometimes I am not as patient or may snap because I need to do my work. Any break in my routine will almost always translate into a mediocre writing day. All does not evaporate though. In the summer, my attention is directed more toward the experiences that might offer a glimpse into my writing world. I tend to step into my moments. It might be something completely unexpected, like watching my daughter laugh as she jumps into the pool or the sound of that laughter that comes from her core and reminds me why I am alive. I might linger on a sentence that I am composing or read the words of book I love with a little more enthusiasm.
The need to hurry is replaced by the need to surrender to the slowness. One important lesson I’ve learned from summer vacations with my daughter: “What is the hurry?”