The Essence of Summer

Night is falling on Mauserts Pond.  I’m camping in Clarksburg State Park near the boarder of MA and VT.  I arrived yesterday evening after work, feeling exhausted but calm upon arrival in the great outdoors.

I woke up this morning feeling less than refreshed.  In fact, I felt totally worn out and depleted.  As I like to say, I wasn’t just worn down to a nub – I was worn down to an indentation!

Feeling at a loss, I walked down to the pond and stared blankly at the water.  When that failed to captivate me, I started to stare at the ground instead. Just then, I noticed a colony of ants bustling about in the grass.  The covered a radius of about 6 feet, a mini metropolis crawling with tiny brown bodies.  They were so busy!  I sure could relate to that!

I have been way too busy lately.  As I was watching the ants, I decided, “Let them do all the work!  I’m taking the day off!”  And in a weird way, it became oddly satisfying to watch this swarming mass of industriousness.  I was completely mesmerized.

The more I watched, the more I noticed, too.   I saw a centipede crawling over tiny hills and dales, undulating its multitude of filament-like legs as it labored up and down blades of grass.  Damselflies and dragonflies zipped in and touched down, their cellophane wings shining in the sun.

I didn’t do much of anything today.  I tried to go for a hike, but I felt too tired and gave up after I realized I was feeling miserable.

I mostly sat by the pond and read, napped, and just watched the world around me. It reminded me of when I was a kid and would spend hours under a tree, just looking up at the leaves and the sky.

By dinner time I was starting to feel almost human again (i.e., not devoid of a soul out of exhaustion).  My good friend, Allison came to meet me for dinner.  We ate at my campsite and went for a walk by the pond.

I put my feet in the water, we admired trees and rocks, and like little kids, we stopped to poke at a rotting stump with sticks.  We sat on a bolder and watched water bugs spiraling like whirling dervishes across the water, while the evening sun washed everything in a golden glow as lovely and sweet as dandelion wine.

In a way, I felt like I had stepped back in time.  I shed some of stress and obligation of my adult life and reached back into a simpler time, where summers were spent exploring the outdoors or just daydreaming under a tree.  Somehow, just by letting go, I was able to tap into the youthful innocence that is at the heart of what summer is all about.

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