When people ask me what I’ve been up to lately, my standard answer is ‘I took the summer off’. While my kids are out of school, I have little time for focused creative work. I choose not to enroll them in endless day camps because the wear and tear on our spirits doesn’t seem worth the cost nor the time expended getting everyone where they need to be on time. It doesn’t buy me enough time to work, and we all end up exhausted and sweaty at the end of the day.
Summer is about enjoying warm weather, being in nature and living life spontaneously. The best way for me to keep this in mind is to get out of the city, where the temptation is high to keep running around the way we do all year long. Between camping weekends, two weeks at my parents’ cabin on Keats Island, two weeks at my mother-in-law’s lakeside house in New Hampshire and a family camp on Washington’s Hood Canal, we managed to stay away from home most of the summer. My camera was my trusty companion throughout our travels.
While it seems like I didn’t do anything creative this summer, I realize that my camera was just the outlet I needed to keep me balanced. The struggle was finding the time to pore through the pictures once we were home for good. It was an itch that needed to be scratched, despite the fact that school wasn’t in session yet and it was no easier find in-city distractions in late August than it was in late June.
As I look at the finalists in my personal contest to determine which pictures best capture the zeitgeist of this summer, I feel my heart thump. I can feel the wind blowing through my hair as I struggle to keep my balance on a rock.