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  • Writer's picturestephanieraffelock

A Summer Prayer

For ten days, I haven’t written a thing. Instead, I’ve let myself be overcome by summer, getting drunk on the exquisite heat that lingers around the edges of the wicker chairs on the back porch. Daydreams inebriate my imagination -- kayak trips and boats calling me to the water’s edge. The laughter of the little boys who live next door enchants me, and under their spell, I can stand by the window for long, satisfying moments, watching them ride their tricycles in circles around the cul-de-sac. The recent days have been like a heating pad on my stiff back -- muscles let go, along with all of the “have to’s,” and “shoulds.” Somewhere in the distance though, I can still hear the faint admonishment of the perfectionist who wants to continue working at any cost. I ignore her.

I’m spending time in the hammock, a grown up cradle that rocks me back and forth. Above me the branches of old Spanish Oaks, rustle their leaves in the breeze that heavies my eyes into a sweet and soothing nap. The lumbering Gottado beast sighs deeply, then surrenders into a restful slumber.

Hunger abates in the heat, and I crave the fruits of the season. Biting into the sweetness of a red nectarine, savoring the juice that dribbles down my chin. Giving into the feeling of lazy and slow, I can only say that a nectarine never tasted so good.

I haven’t lost sight of what needs to be done, though I seem to have lost sight of what needs to be undone. The undoing of tensions and stress; the compulsions of performance and the constant self-promotion that gets lost in a sea of social media; the undoing of something so awkwardly responsible and ambitious, that my wild child is pushed into a closet, where she longs to color flowers onto small squares of paper. What if I pulled the dangling thread and it all unraveled?

This is the summer of return and my fear of missing the sensuality and joy of its presence has invited me to stop. Just stop. So the writing goes unfinished. I sit in the shade with cold tea and girlfriends, whose full faces I just can’t get enough of.

And when the sun sets over the ice cream truck, I take delight in popsicles, that lovely taste of frozen upon my lips. The light changes from bright to soft grey, then to black. Be so quiet now, I whisper to myself. Close my eyes. Breathe in the deep breath of days free of obligation, rules or discipline. Give it all to that spark of divinity that I know is dancing in each molecule of each being.

Breathe in the summer. Let the past year and a half of hunkered down and cloistering loosen its grip and float away. Come back into the world of smiles that I can see and hands that I can hold. It’s summer, and I might miss a writing deadline or two . . . but I don’t want to miss this moment of awakening and reinvention that summer has ushered into our world.

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