Thursday, August 12, 2010

Back from ... Summer!

Okay, I've been a sucky-ass blogger for the past two months. But, hey, I've been away.

Not far away, for the most part. I've done a few forays -- a couple of long river trips, a quick visit to the Midwest, a backpack, some nearby road trips. But mostly I've been around. But I can't really say I've been "here" -- at least in terms of "here" meaning engaging with my normal routines, like blogging. 

But that's Summer, y'know? And Summer, well, it's really important to me. Always has been. In fact, in the spirit of "Dirty Jobs" host Mike Rowe, who proudly proclaims "I took my retirement early and in installments," I've taken my retirement early and mostly in Summers. 

Aside from one foolhardy, fruitless Summer I spent "career building" by commuting in and out of Boston, my Summers since I graduated from college sometime in the mid-to-late last century have been devoted to river guiding and fishing and backpacking, living out of tents and cars, and traveling -- the West, Canada, the East Coast, Europe, Africa. 

Since having kids, my Summers have been spent, well, river running and fishing and camping, spending time around home with the kids, and traveling -- Alaska, England and Norway, British Columbia and Yukon, the Upper Midwest ...

Then, back to nine months of hard labor to finance those Summers. Nine months made passable knowing they make that next Summer possible ... (And, of course, that "career building" has, well, let's say, suffered. Ah, well.)

In my adult life, like my childhood, Summers are sacred. As they should be -- as kids know them to be. Yes, they're fun -- as in getting out a lot. But having kept alive that childish annual ritual of "getting out of school" for the Summer has lent something else to my life. A certain structure that includes a big chuck of unstructuredness that allows me to do an annual restructuring of my life. And even of my Self. 

Summers have always been the time of year, every year, when I explore and re-invent myself. When I disrupt the daily routine that runs most of my mostly-normal lifestyle, and reassess, reconnect, re-evaluate, and ultimately re-vision my living and revise my lifestyle. When I walk away from my routines in May every year, every August I return to them changed, and with a fresh ambition and aim for that upcoming work-year. 

"To die often is to live much," says an ancient Buddhist aphorism. I die and am reborn every year, in the Summer. Because of Summer. 

This Summer has been a little different than most (hey, I don't want routines even in my routine-breaking ...) in that I stuck around more than usual. (Yet still applying that traveling craving 
 to the Four Corners -- still "going," but going at home.) But, as is evidenced in the two-month space since the last Almanac post, my not going away hasn't deterred my determined walking away. 

Fortunately only one person noticed that the Almanac had been idle. And he's on my payroll, so I at least know he's been doing his job. 

But, as the pagan poet-philosopher Jono urges in the face of love's and life's many futilities, "Onward! Heartbreak breathlessly awaits!" So the Almanac plunges on, shipping dispatches from our little corner of this funky world into the great wilderness of cyberspace. 

Rejuvenated. Renewed. And ready to rock. 
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