Sunday, June 27, 2010
School for me is finally over. After having spent this past semester researching the effects of Slow Media, it was ironic that I was never allowed to slow down myself. Every day was spent working, caring for my pets and family, and spending as many moments as I could possibly squeeze in studying. I knew that when I finally turned in my last paper I wanted to do two things. One was to read Aimee Bender's new book, The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake. I had been waiting several years for her to finish it, and these past few months had been filled with too much required reading. When I finally was able to immerse myself in her words, I was treated to this little gem: "Once, we'd arrived home to a snail at the doorstep and she said it was a sign to slow down, and she took a walk around the block at a funereal pace, saying there was something in there for her if she just took her time. She came back just as vivid-faced as ever. Thank you, little snail, she buzzed, lifting it up and placing it in the cool shadows of a jasmine bush." The other treat I wanted was to take my family out for ice cream. I had heard that our local shoppe had concocted a new creation which involved filling the center of a soft-serve cone with a hot sauce of your choosing. M and T finished their bowls quite quickly; I ate my cone ver, very slowly. At each bite I kept expecting to hit the center. When I finally did, it splooshed everywhere, including all over my shirt. I didn't care in the least - I knew we were doing laundry the next day. I was quite content to sit there and savor each and every bite, no matter how messy it made me. Happy Summer!
"What do we do," asks L, "during the daytime in the summertime?" He's swinging in the chair hammock strung on the porch by his dad barely half an hour before. He isn't complaining, isn't worried, reveals no sadness that school came to an end a short week ago. He's curious. Only that morning, we had returned from three days of camping with friends. Lego robot camp had ended the Friday before. What comes next? "We do this," I say. I sit in my porch rocking chair with an open book, M gathers supplies for a just-down-the-road fishing trip, T pretends to battle various demons upstairs in Boys' Room, and B stomps around our blow-up pool, naked as the embarrassment he is far too young for. In the summertime, we slow down. We feel the heat. We watch the garden grow leggy and then squeeze out miraculous vegetables; we follow the flowers through bloom and rot. We go to bed late. We lay in hot, sticky, vapory soup wishing for breeze. We think about winter and can't quite imagine snow and frozen roads. That evening, with the oldest boy in the tub and the younger two arguing over which movie to watch for Family Movie Night, I try out the chair hammock. It's almost uncomfortable. My neck is stiff from sleeping on the ground; leaning back feels like a threat. But I risk it. I relax into the weave. I slow to a near stop. I glance up at the hanging flower pot above me, on fire with bright orange blossoms I don't know the name of. Until a boy calls for me to come.