Dog Days and Other Summer Myths
By Kathi Macias –
Like any kid, when I was young I couldn’t wait for school to end and summer to begin. Ah, those long, warm, lazy days! I started counting down to their arrival along about the first of May. By the time the last day of school finally showed up, I could barely get through until that final bell.Can you relate? That amazing feeling of freedom, where you burst forth from the bonds of forced academia and relish the joys of sleeping late, no homework and countless hours with absolutely nothing to do.
And that, of course, was the problem. The first week or two were glorious. But by week three or so, boredom started to nibble at my happiness. It wasn’t long before I made the fatal mistake of mumbling, “I’m bored; there’s nothing to do.”
Really? Because my mom seemed to think there were all sorts of things to do, and apparently she’d just been waiting for someone to volunteer. (Does “I’m bored; there’s nothing to do” really amount to volunteering? It did in our house.)
The next thing I knew I’d find myself with a toilet brush and a container of Ajax in my hand. “The toilets need cleaning,” Mom would explain. “And when you’re done with that…”
Her litany of chores continued, but I’d already blocked her out. What had I done? How could I not have remembered the previous summer and the terrible fate that awaited anyone who dared to complain of boredom? Now I was doomed, for I knew enough to realize that Mom considered my pronouncement of boredom a summer-long condition. From that day on, she would arrive in my bedroom long before I wanted to get out of bed and declare, “Here’s your list for the day. Let’s get busy.”
Suddenly the sweet memory of boredom tore at my heart. Why had I so foolishly given it up? How easy to breeze through summer in a bored state, making my own decisions about whether to watch reruns of “Gilligan’s Island” or play jacks with my friend down the street, choosing between having another bowl of cereal or sitting under a tree and watching the grass grow! But it was too late now. I’d blown it. Summer vacation might just as well have been over.
Now I was reduced to counting the days until I could escape to go back to school. Something was seriously wrong with this picture! And then, August arrived, the official “dog days” of summer and the month our family of five (my parents, my two younger brothers, and yours truly) piled into the station wagon with travel trailer following behind, and headed out for some exotic spot—usually camping in the dirt at a nearby state park or in the sand at the beach. But who cared where it was? It was away from the house and that horrible toilet brush! I was free at last, ready to enjoy a week of sleeping in and frolicking amongst the trees or in the waves.
Sure. Ever try to sleep in when you’re stuffed into a 16-foot trailer with four other people, especially when one of them is your father who snores like a beaver on steroids, or two little brothers who think it’s funny to put ants in your sleeping bag?
Once again I was counting the days until school was back in session, disappointed that the dreams I’d had for an enjoyable summer just hadn’t turned out as planned. But isn’t that the way life is much of the time? We focus so much on pressing into the next season, which we hope will be better, that we miss the joys of the season we’re in.
Maybe we’d be wise to heed the advice of the Apostle Paul, who said, “I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content” (Philippians 4:11, NKJV)—even in the “dog days” of summer.
Kathi “Easy Writer” Macias (www.kathimacias.com; http://kathieasywritermacias.blogspot.com) is an occasional radio host (www.blogtalkradio.com/communicatethevision) and an award-winning author of more than 30 books, including her popular “Extreme Devotion” fiction series from New Hope Publishers and her upcoming September 2010 release from Abingdon Press, Valeria’s Cross.