Do you remember when you were nine or ten? School’s out and it’s a lazy hazy summer day. Sitting under a tree, nothing to do, looking up at the deep blue blue sky. A cool breeze blowing the puffy white clouds across the sky as you gaze at that huge, infinite deep blue sky. The warm air redolent with summer scents of grass and flowers. The taste of the deep red juicy strawberry, cool, sweet, and refreshing. When I was nine or ten; tasting the red red berry, the breeze blowing, looking into that infinite sky, I felt in my soul the perfection of that moment.
I remember knowing that this was what life was. The feeling of looking into that deep blue sky and feeling how huge the world was, knowing that this was one tiny planet in a giant solar system, light years from our nearest neighbor. Part of a huge galaxy that was just a tiny part of an even more immense universe (yes I was an odd child). But I felt more alive knowing that that vast nearly infinite universe funneled down to me. Knowing that, tiny insignificant me was a part of that vast great wonder, the universe makes me feel more alive than anything. As a nine or ten year old I could feel a part of the universe. Nothing was beyond imagination, my life lay before me able to be whatever I wanted. In those days I was alive, alive with possibility, alive with hope, dreams, a joie de vivre. I knew it then in my gut, but I didn’t understand in my head.
The years passed, I grew older. Dating, jobs, push for “success” started to weigh on me. In a blink of an eye forty years have passed. Most of that time I was not alive like that summer day. Wonder was gone and the struggle to exist took it’s place. Existing day-to-day occasionally remembering what it was like at nine or teen during the lazy hazy days of summer, when I lived life; not just existed in it. But then the stresses of chores or the job or the kids comes back and thoughts of life fade and I fall back to the mundane of existence of adulthood.
This morning running errands I looked up into the vast blue blue sky, felt the cool breeze, smelled the grass. I remembered being nine or ten. I’ve had those memories before, many times. But today I really remembered what it was to live… live through the lazy days of summer. To feel life. I really understand, why the neo-pagan afterlife is the Summerland. I remember how I felt at nine or ten, how life felt perfect, now having the context of forty more years, I understand in my head and gut what I felt in my gut then.
Today I really understand, I’ve felt it on and off all my life, I’ve never really lost that feeling. Mundane existence has pushed the memory of the sun, wind, the feeling of looking at the blue blue sky, leading to the vast universe and that feeling of knowing that I can be happy, to the back burner. Most of my life, even as a kid I merely existed. But as a child I lived much more than as an adult. I felt life, love, hope, deep in my heart many more times than as an adult.
Forty years later most of my life has been mere existence I’ve only really lived a few hours at a time here or there, or when lucky living a day or two at a time now and then. But today I remembered living. I haven’t lived for a while, I’ve just been existing for the most part. I’m not going to settle for brief moments of life among my existence. I’m going to work hard, really really hard to remember those lazy hazy days of summer that are life. I’m tired of just existing. For a while I thought that meant I was tired of life, but that’s not what it is, I’m tired of NOT living.
Today looking into that blue blue sky feeling that breeze, rekindling those memories of what life is, has woken my wonder, my desire for life. I’ll work really hard at living. No doubt there will be times than I merely exist. Our society and culture are designed to make us exist and not live, But I’ll fight that, and I will live more than I exist. With a little (or a lot of ) effort I’ll get to live the next forty years more than exist in them. I truly hope anyone out there reading this can remember their lazy hazy days of summer. Remember what it was like living as a nine or ten year old. I hope you are able to tap into that and begin living more of your life than simply existing in it.