The Promise of Summer

Isle of Palms, South Carolina June 2015

Isle of Palms, South Carolina June 2015

Anyone who is a teacher or related to one knows that from mid-August to June a teacher’s time is not their own.  They can tell you precisely what they will be doing any weekday at any given time between seven and four.  Each day runs on schedule with little deviation.  Science is always during science, of course the content changes and the lessons change from year to year to accommodate the needs of the current class and to keep the content from becoming stale for the instructor. Even the time off is regimented, you know well in advance what days you will have off, so it is difficult to whisk away for a fall leaf vacation in New England or to take in Paris in the spring.  Big trips are taken in the heat of the summer.  I am sure some of you out there are thinking, you get your summers off and we don’t, but the truth of the matter is we have earned those days, they are comp time for the sixty to eighty hour weeks typically put in to the school year and if you teach young kids like me, you need time to recover or you will soon depart this very demanding but rewarding profession.  Now, school is out!  These eight weeks are scheduled only at my whim, I do work tutoring and teaching a two week summer program, that gives me free afternoons, so while some time is scheduled, the majority of these eight weeks are blessedly my own. My routine in the summer always includes a weekly visit to the beach with a picnic lunch and a good book.  I savor my time on the beach, there is something soothing about the sight and sound of the waves crashing up on the shore.  the breeze counteracts the heat beating down from the sun, both of which seem to recharge my endorphins.  When I take a break from my book, I people watch, mining the scene for characters.  The beach is also a great place to think.  I reflect on the past, mull over the present and wonder about the future.  I close my eyes and ideas for my novels will flood my mind,  I have learned to take notepad and pen with me. Since as far back as I can remember the beach has been a happy place for me.  We spent hours on the beaches of Italy, Hawaii and Maine in my childhood. Living on the coast of South Carolina keeps me in my happy place most of the time, year round but especially in the summer.  Each June the promise of summer presents itself like a elaborately wrapped gift waiting to be unwrapped. It is the gift of time.  I want to read on the beach, write, organize closets, visit with family and friends, tackle a project or two. I did set up my tutoring schedule so I have several days a week free.  How fast the days and hours of summer become filled, the promise of extra time diminished.  Yet, it is still more time than the other seasons of the year.  As the years march on I have become more aware of the value of time and have even learned to be a bit selfish about how I spend it. The promise of summer is more time to do the things I absolutely love and savor them. This summer time makes me wonder what life might be like when I finally retire from teaching.  I was talking to my daddy the other day and sharing with him my working plans for the summer and adding in, I look forward to the day I can just spend my days writing.  He responded with “Well you can’t write all day every day.”  He is absolutely right.  I find several hours at a time is about what my brain and hands can take for a session, although when I am on a roll I can do longer or a second session later in the day or night.  So even if writing was the only must do on my agenda, I would still have hours to fill. I may not get to everything on my summer to do list but one thing is certain the time I spend on the beach will fulfill the promise of summer,

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