July is building to a crescendo.
Soon the heat will break, the evenings will be cooler, and the calm & stillness of August will arrive, tagging along the Dog Days of Summer.
- Although the Dog Days of Summer trigger the true image of a dog lying in grassy shade, panting, and biting at bothersome flies, the august, August sky features the rise of the star Sirius. Sirius is the brightest proper star and the 'Dog Star', part of the constellation Canis Major ('canine'). It follows the constellation Orion ('The Hunter') through the night. This year, 2017, Sirius lingers from July 22nd to August 22nd.
To survive the summer I have been attending my NYC orchestral park concerts, and outdoor film, in order to satisfying some of my need for pleasure, organization, structure, civility, and motivation.
I have been working on my bevy of annual summer work projects (e.g. updating beneficiaries, technology upgrades, continuing education, autumn marketing plans).
I already enjoyed my 48-hour summer vacation, which pains me as I used to live at a shore for the entire summer.
I miss living seaside and I enjoyed the throwback to simplicity, and my return to nature.
- The thought is reminiscent of at least two Twilight Zone episodes, as I am not the first to yearn nostalgic.
As a kid, my summers were outside the concrete jungle, at the Connecticut shore. I went to the beach, played a variety of sports, and enjoyed a wide range of other activities from speed-reading, to more clarinet playing, and earning my driver’s license. My buddy and I would play badminton after dinner, barely making out the shuttle cock at twilight, or ping pong in a poorly-lit screen porch, having to play by shadow.
Screen doors would pop and bang, children would yell in the distance, and everyone had a bicycle. There’d be armies of ants near the Weeping Willow, my favorite tree. I watched the moon landing on the black & white television set. Cinder, my black cat, would hunt.
- The remake of Outer Limits dropped the word ‘set’ from the narrator’s introduction, "For the next hour we will control your television set."
After my divorce, Pepper the cat, and I would move to the Jersey Shore on Memorial weekend, we'd retrun on Labor weekend. The 1950s bathroom porcelain was turquoise, the windows levered. I'd feel the ocean breeze and hear the distant waves through the kitchen window while washing dinner dishes by hand.
Wet clothes would hang on the sun-drenched, salt-aired line, but you had to take them in before the dew. There'd be flowers and grass in the yard by the crabapple tree. I'd sit on the beach and read historical novels about the area, picturing the familiar locations in my mind, and then I’d scout them out, getting lost on purpose, just to find my way back.
I'd still work a full day on my laptop and wireless telephone headset, in my Speedo. I’ve long since retired from my 30 year aquatics career. I would finally visit the beach after 5pm - the best time, but still be chocolate by Labor Day. The movement of the sun across the sky was a clock, and suddenly it would be eight o’clock.
The ocean hosted frolicking dolphins, and few boats. At low tide, I’d body-surf the long, lazy, lolling, rolling waves; I think I rode ne ’r a city block, ending in four inches of water, scratching my nose on the sandy bottom. I had to hold my breath for a very long time while listening to the foaming bubbles in my ears. I'd take my nightly constitutional on the three-mile boardwalk, ‘watch the Tram Car, please’, taking in the sounds, lights, smells, amusements, and short-term visitors.
This summer brings with it, a plethora of new business and personal challenges. I try to keep my workout schedule up, finding a renewed passion thanks to an additional food supplement.
My time is almost too full, preventing me from taking afternoon naps like Andrew Wyeth's dog.
I crave simplicity; technology has become the bane of my existence. Computers are people, too.
Even the bedroom air condition rattles with such hostility that it aggravates my chronic tinnitus.
- There’s no cure for tinnitus or the air conditioner. The masses pronounce it ‘tinn-I-tus’, the professionals have taken to pronouncing it ‘TINNitus’. The dictionary says both are acceptable. And no one makes a window air conditioner anymore for New Yorkers who have bars on the windows.
The dental office isn't being responsive. My teeth are my only other medical challenge.
We're killing the Earth.
The Swedish girl I'm in love with, who lives in France, and works in Monaco selling yacht insurance, has disappeared; we were communicating daily.
I spend much time alone. The cat passed last year. I have family, and so many friends, but I live alone, I work alone, I work out alone, I DO much alone, and ultimately I have learned to BE alone. But (hu)man is a social animal, and sometimes I wish to share my beasthood.
I just attended a book launch about the ‘inner wolf’; a Native American once taught me that I’m the brown bear, the leader of the council.
It's challenging to keep a balance between body-mind, and spirit, work & play, do & be, eat & sleep, especially in the slow, simmering, summer heat.
Much of my work is dependent on the support of others who do not work for me; they drop the ball. It’s frustrating, although my philosophy classes have taught me to be at peace with it.
I just booked my ‘pre-tax season escape’ to one of my other favorite earthly beaches; it’s now the one vacation I know I take each year. My coaching tells me I should have four. I have made friends who meet me on the sleepy island. Two of them are women from Vancouver. One is the Assistant Warden of men's prison; the other is the Ph.D. psychologist who hired her. We walk the deserted coast and discuss what it's like to be in solitary. Then they hug me.
I'm hot. I want to be lazy. I get lonely. I avoid the Siren's call and temptation of depression. I move on.
I will survive.
But today is a challenge.
Survival is a challenge, if not a struggle.
After my divorce, one of my karate teachers told me to move forward just by putting one foot in front of the other. I do.
I do what I need to do.
And I consciously remember to breathe.
Who's Your Trusted Family Advisor?©
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