Summer Buzz

Yesterday was summer solstice–the longest day of the year. It was also the hottest day we’ve had. My AC ran continually and I actually adjusted the shades to limit the sunshine. (Anyone who knows me well knows I thrive in my bright, sunlit home.) The plants wilted and so did my attitude as I began calculating what was left of summer and the poor plans I’ve made to rest and recharge. It didn’t help in learning before I left campus that all the meetings and planning for fall will begin in just a few weeks. I felt as if time were running out!

So my brooding built and escalated with the heat of the day. The summer solstice concluded with heat lightning and severe thunderstorms. Again, it matched my mood until, like the denouement in a story, I took action to better balance my “life wheel” and make a few plans for R&R. That emotional storm changed the “heat” I’d been feeling.

Today is a fresh day, cleansed by the rain. Today I’m tending thirsty plants on the lanai and listening to the buzz of insects. I love this part of summer. I love the sounds, which change during midday because it becomes too hot for the squirrels to chase each other through the trees. Too hot for the usual sounds of dogs or people. Even the splashing from the pool next to my building ceases for several hours.

But I’m tuned into the sound of the summer buzz. The whir of the insects intensifies and grows slightly louder with the heat. (One of these days my curiosity will draw me into investigating exactly what/how that sound is made and by which insects. For now, though, I focus on fiction over nonfiction.) With each cycle of the whirring insects, I am transported to the scenes from my W-I-P. What sounds does my character hear now? What does she smell?

Later I’ll also visit the created worlds of two clients and ask the same questions about sensory details. Today I am focused more on sounds than on other senses because the insects have guided me to notice sounds.

All that matters now is that it’s summer, I love the heat, and story ideas are buzzing through my thoughts. This is happiness. This is one way I want to spend my time. This makes summer wonderful.

Summer on my Time

 

 
It’s summer. Time for teachers to regroup and other occupations to slow down, vacation, reorganize. Since I juggle teaching with writing and consulting, summer for me means doing things at my pace, on my time.  Well, most things. I’m scheduled to teach both condensed sessions for summer term at the college where I’m an adjunct. Also, writing workshops filled and one was even extended, so I’m teaching later into the summer than usual. 
   I usually spend my summers reorganizing. “Season” here in Florida, which for me is ultra hectic with writing workshops offered at various venues, has ended. So, by the time May arrives, my office is trashed. (I tend to dump workshop supplies or book bags and files on the extra office chair or on the floor in front of my desk.)
   I review handouts and weed extra papers from folders before I finally refill them. I note activities or discussions that worked, and those that didn’t, along with ideas to try next time. I also clean and sort craft supplies, paper, and pencils to store until next season. 
   All of this generally happens in fits and starts. I might begin sorting or weeding or filing and then get distracted with an article idea. A growling tummy or parched throat sends me to the kitchen where I end up creating something yummy to eat and hours later return to whatever I’d started in my office. Sometimes I simply take a break on the lanai and notice wildlife. Wonderings lead to wandering the web for help in  identifying a bird or something in the pond. (Did you know there is fish that looks sort of like an alligator? They are placed in some of the ponds to clean and eat algae. They’re called alligator gars.)
   Of course I do have days with appointments so I mind the clock then and cannot indulge in this “on my time” sort of life. But THIS summer MOST of my time is scheduled. As I mentioned, I’m teaching both Summer A and Summer B terms and, for some reason, they are back-to-back. Not even a day off between them. 
   I do have a day each week without anything scheduled (usually Fridays) but I’ve been spending that time reading–or grading papers. So, the book bags and files and supplies are piled neatly out of the way in the corner of my office or under the window. 
  Eventually I’ll get to them– in my time, after I research alligator gars. After I write that story scene. After I read the new book I bought. I need to create an “on my time” schedule. After all, this is supposed to summer break.