Winter is the best time for summer.  Check back with me 6 months from now if you don’t believe me.  Especially when the pressure cooker of Christmas has worn one out and the snows of January become stale and gray.  That is when summer becomes dreamlike in the mind.  Technicolor landscapes dance in the head and mixes with PIXAR clarity.  The NEXT summer seems limitless and full of exploration.

Next summer of course, is when we really plan on splashing into the river water barefooted like Tom Sawyer did in the pages of American literature–without a care in the world and a oneness with nature.  And we’re not going to just tippy toe through that forested threshold or that river bank, we are going to BARREL our way through and take no prisoners, like John Wayne arriving through a western saloon and leaving those “batwing” designed doors swinging comically back and forth.

Before our calendar fills up and repairs and setbacks kick in; the prospects for the NEXT summer seems open ended.  Without a doubt we will finally slow down and really build some summer memories by lingering in small towns on narrow roads and not hurrying.  We all know only too well the folly of staying busy during summer vacation and not being able to remember a thing that we did afterwards.  For most summers, it seems like too much work to be leisurely in this day and age—and going on vacation is only for the rich and upwardly mobile types who bat not an eye lash about staying overnight at Nemacolin Lodge.

But not next summer.  We will bypass all the money worries and forget about any luxury accommodations.

After all, But when it comes to nature we all still like the notion expressed by Henry David Thoreau, to” live deep and suck out all the marrow of life” as much as we can.

Each year I think I’m going to do it.  If not for the constraints of necessity and the disseminations of public safety warnings that leave me paralyzed.

I mean it just takes so much planning to figure out how to do something as basic as jumping into a swimming hole.  “What should I wear?”  “How do I manage to not anger my wife afterwards due to the laundry situation?” “What if the bugs are really bad?”  “What if there are snakes?”  “Where do I put my wallet if (if I have driven over in my car)?”  “What about my cell phone?”  “What if I get a concussion?”

No worries anymore about such silly sequences and planning.  Not next summer baby.

I am grabbing any grubby pair of shorts I come across and any sandals that happen to still work.  Or just go barefoot.

Or maybe even be spontaneous to run from my parked car while still in my work clothes and STILL wade carelessly into a vibrant summer creek!

And I will communicate to the poison ivy and ticks and snakes out there and let them know that I am impervious to their potential threat this time.  And I will harmonize with nature like Johnny Weissmuller did as Tarzan and Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer.

Only would you mind not telling this to my wife?  I want to do this summer celebrating very discreetly, so as to not be late for dinner or mess up any other plans she might have for us.


About John Watts

I like to write transcendental community based essays and stories along with photo journalism pieces.
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