My Three Favorite Un-Hurried Summer Traditions
My sister calls it “slow coffee.” I call it bliss.
Waking up on a weekend morning, my favorite summer pleasure is knowing my only task is to sit and drink my coffee. Nothing is demanded of me other than to be present to nature's beauty. No rushing or scheduling or hurrying up required. It is the moment I have all to myself with me, my coffee, and God.
I understand at certain times there is the need for speed. Fast is just right for things like toilet scrubbing, checking your email, putting out the trash, and chopping onions. I get that it sounds downright un-American to do something as slow as possible. Yet, summer is perfect for puttering. There is a quiet pleasure in doing certain things with ease for personal restoration.
Besides slow coffee, here are my three favorite slow summer treats:
1. Re-reading a Treasured Book (Hammock Optional)
Andrew Kern from the Circe Institute used to say reading a book once is like saying hello to someone at a cocktail party. He equated one read of a book was like a shallow friendship. But when you read a book two and three times, it becomes part of you. When I take my time with a book, I feel like I’m not just consuming. I’m inviting it to in to change me and make me different.
Every summer, I read a book called, “The Keeper of the Bees” by Gene Stratton Porter. It is a relatively unknown book written in the 1920s and you won’t find it on any best-seller list. Yet there is something about the book that resonates with me. Revisiting it every summer is like hearing wisdom from an old friend. This is not a book to rush through but to appreciate the storytelling from an era that existed more than a hundred years ago.
2. Summertime Rambles aka “Going for a Walk Without Speed in Mind”
A doctor friend of mine told me that he believed walking is one of the best cure-alls. Certainly, everyone agrees movement is good for the body. But he was convinced that with the community and the healing power of nature, there wasn’t much that couldn’t be improved by a good walk with friends.
My intention on walks is to pay attention. I notice what’s blooming, what sensory treats are happening. Next, I notice how I’m feeling – what thoughts are hanging around in my heart and head. Walking isn’t just about moving on the outside. Sometimes walking is about allowing things to shift on the inside.
3. Creating Something with My Hands
When my son was still at home, one of our favorite summer rituals was to create something. Sometimes we would glue bottle cap art, other times we would purchase an inexpensive canvas and paint something. Other times we would collect bits and pieces from outdoors to artfully put together an ongoing nature display.
Even though this tradition has passed with him, I still find that I love collecting and creating in the summer. Personally, I love nature journaling. It is a perfect companion for noticing summer’s beauty. Sometimes I sketch what I see in nature or other times I’m inspired to write about what the season inspires. What I love is that I give myself permission to be terrible at it. I’m not an artist and I’m not trying to create something to hang on the wall. I’m simply capturing the beauty of what I see for no one else but myself.
What Slow Things Do You Love?
Slow things give us a chance to experience life in a sacred way. From the surface, we aren’t accomplishing anything, becoming thinner, younger, successful, wealthy, or famous. Yet inside we are becoming more vibrant, more true, more alive. We are investing in the currencies of the heart. We are feeding our soul with the kind of care only found in doing things with unhurried intention.
This summer, give yourself permission to go slow.