Sunday, August 8, 2010

Pulling weeds or pulling words - a summer conundrum

Summer is at last upon us and as a consequence, my writing has taken an unintended sabbatical. Every time I sit down at the computer, I can hear the weeds in my perennial bed snickering and chortling about getting the better of me. (I did tell you about my perfect hearing, didn’t I?) Of course, the matter of what gets done and what doesn’t is complicated by the fact that I want to do absolutely everything I love in the morning because, well I am a morning person and that is when morning people do their stuff!

Walking the dogs is high on the morning list and a chore that can easily eat up one to two hours. I confess to being compulsive about this as, well when I walk the dogs, I walk myself and we are all better off because of it. It also helps justify some of the other favorite morning tasks, such as sitting and reading the paper and drinking tea. Morning is the time of day I like to start any baking project as well as the best time for me to pay bills and scrub the floor. Obviously, bill paying and floor scrubbing are not “fun favorite” things to do, but the euphoric feeling that follows their completion keeps them vying for my attention, to say nothing of my energy, on a regular basis.

Finally and most importantly, morning is the time I like to write, but I somehow need to have the house to myself in order to do that. So, that enterprise must of necessity take place between the time that Fred leaves for work and before anyone else shows up. On any given day, the “anyone else” could be a gardener, carpenter, plumber, or heaven forbid, some friend who just wants to chat!

In the summer, this ever shrinking sacred time is also the best time to work in the garden. Even non morning people know that the early part of the day is the best time to be weeding and watering before things heat up and dry out. In our climate, our best summer weather is often characterized by cool overcast mornings that burn off sometime between eleven and two. In the two or three hours before the sun breaks through, I can generally get a lot of weeding and dead heading done, assuming I get out there and get after it.

Of course, since I am the one who “makes the rules” on how I spend my day, if I would just lighten up and decide to tackle some of these tasks in the afternoon, I might not feel so pressed for time. On the other hand, I am in the downhill slide by 3:00 and, my competency as well as my motivation responds to the gravitational pull downward. By this time of day, if I haven’t figured out dinner, I need to be thinking about that and there is just an outside possibility that in all my scooting around to deal with the morning, I have neglected to clean off the kitchen counters. You know, I have friends whose kitchen counters are always clean and I am baffled at how they manage that. Maybe they cook in the basement behind a locked door!

Yesterday someone asked me which season was my favorite. With the nearly perfect summer weather we have had of late, I was tempted to give summer two thumbs up. But then, when I thought about my “to do” list and the fact that before I even get around to checking something off, three or four “must do’s, asap” have elbowed their way on to the list, those long grey days of winter that cry out for a fire and a book and of course a pot of tea sounded pretty inviting. Of course, the long days of summer complicate the matter. Those days we yearn for around Thanksgiving when daylight is but a faint memory by the time the turkey is served.

Years ago I somehow internalized the maxim to “make hay while the sun shines.” Well, I can tell you – I am about ready for haying season to be over!