As I reacquaint myself with my weekly routine today, and cope with 90 degree weather, I feel summer slipping through my fingers. I always feel this way after the festivities of Independence Day. Even though its really only a third of the way through the season, I get anxious thinking about all the fun I want to do this summer. The fun I want to accomplish. But that’s not what summer is about. It’s not just another box to tick on my task list. Summer is to be experienced. To revel in.
As the task list of outdoor projects increases it’s fervour and calling, I must remember the small and significant occurrences that define July. Not to be confused with a task list, I like to think of the following as a list of joy:
1. Crabbing on the Tillamook Bay – The peace and solitude I get when out on a body of water never ceases to amaze me – even when kiddos with big puffy life jackets on are clambering all over you. And the deliciousness of Dungenous crabs can’t be beat.
2. After dinner strolls through the neighborhood – I’ve had the itch to get involved in our neighborhood association lately and get my hands in the good work of community building. Walking down our street with my family and saying hi to neighbors can go a long way in creating meaningful connections.
3. Raspberry picking on Sauvie Island – I’m finding the older I get, the more I enjoy simple, repetitive activities. It allows my mind to wander while my hands are busied. We grow raspberries at home, but little man picks and eats them faster than I get to them. And driving out to an agricultural area filled with small farms grounds me as a localvore and creates a sense of protective ownership over my native land.
4. Seeking refuge from the heat in the Columbia River Gorge – As I write this, I realize how damn lucky we are to live in Portland. This is the third activity on this list that takes us out of the city in under an hour. On a hot day, scooting out of Portland and immersing myself in the cool, damp, waterfall-laden Gorge is a lush gift of relief.
5. Grilling outside every single night – We have a little house (intentionally so) and when July hits in Portland, it means dining al fresco just about every night. We try to meal plan every week and often Russell and I comment that the experience of eating out on our deck is hard to beat at any restaurant.
6. Celebrating my Momma’s birth – My Momma turns 60 this year and the first of her celebrations will be on her actual birthday. Ssssshhhh, it’s July 17th – hop on over to http://www.wordstrumpet.com and wish her a happy day! This is a woman who knows a thing or two about joy, creativity and family.
7. Camping out in the woods – We attempted our first camping trip with Henry last summer – for just one night. The owls kept me up and my grumpiness the following morning was not a good thing. Henry’s older now and I’m excited to try it again – with 5-HTP in hand.
9. Exploring the seemingly infinite number of parks in Portland – While I do love getting out of town for the day, as evidenced above, skipping off to a park to find some shade and an awesome playground amongst the trees is a great way to spend an hour or two.
10. Happy hours on the deck – Enough said.
I didn’t plan this post to death, something new for me, and while none of it is groundbreaking it was a great exercise to remind myself of the July activities I love. What experiences help create your July? May I encourage you to remember them and prioritize them, in an effort to be here now.