Summer is a strange bird - always highly anticipated and idealized, and perhaps rightfully so if you were lucky enough to grow up with summer vacations where typical days included running through sprinklers, eating seven ice pops for breakfast, and having your day made when someone's mom ordered a round of Papa Johns delivered to the neighborhood pool for lunch. That was my experience for a few glorious years of early life. But time went on, and eventually we got jobs and schedules, and a summer calendar became indistinguishable from that of Spring, Fall, and Winter.
Today I find my summer overflowing with activities, responsibilities, deadlines, internal debates, and demands. Only thinking about this now do I remember the multitude of summer mornings spent doing yard work and household chores before I was released to charge barefoot down the hot asphalt of Princeton Corners Lane straight into the deep end of the pool. Yet I still long for that illusive feeling of summer. Of course, seasons look different for each participant, but I'm beginning to think this supposedly light and carefree time of the year can coexist with a little extra work.
The shift I'm trying to make is instead of forcing summer to be a perfect friend filled with only laughter and no strain or anxiety or struggle and being disappointed when she falls short, just accept the season as a reminder that life always returns. After winter, darkness, exhaustion, whatever it is. Life always returns. The sun always rises. And what better reminder than a world bursting with greenery, flowers, afternoon thunderstorms, tomatoes, drenched in hot sunshine, and work that is a gift - good and gratifying. All of these things exist together.
These little paintings embody such a reminder. They are abstracted, not as neat and tidy as our memory tells us things used to be. But they are packed with tiny details - little moments and marks that carry a feeling, an emotion, a story. A slash of color, wildflowers that thrive amongst tangled weeds, and a blue sky.
So whether yours is turning out to be one of hustle and forced energy, or lazy poolside naps, I hope your summer serves as a reminder that life returns. I, for one, will be seeking tiny affirmations tucked in the cracks, that yes, as with every year before and every year to follow, life has followed death, the grass has returned to green, the sun is still burning, afternoon thunderstorms will always make the world feel cozy, and this, too, with all its varied complexities, is a season to embrace.