It’s summer and the hours are dripping by.
On the one hand, I love this. Late mornings. Kids in jammies. Spontaneous park dates. Gardening after nine in the evening.
On the other hand, my own projects have to be shelved. I won’t have the luxury of cooking and photographing for an entire morning or long hours to pull weeds (for some reason, I still imagine I’ll have leisurely mornings to do this in the summer).
The truth is, summer is all about the kids. I love all the fun in the sun but a part of me is still mad about it. Those few mornings I’d eeked out for my own pursuits disappear with the final school bell. Poof.
My frustration with losing my free mornings, though incontestably self-absorbed, isn’t all bad. It stems from passion. There are so many things to do in one summer, I don’t have time for them all. I want to write, of course, and practice photography and cook for you. I have about two dozen places on my list of perfect day trips. There are spas to visit too, and friends with whom I want to share a morning and a pot of tea. I want to prune the crazy big plants around the perimeter of our front yard and spend a couple of days a week underneath my sun hat with a weed digger in the flat, hot sunshine.
But summer isn’t just for me. Life isn’t just for me. There is one option: to be with one another. Sometimes there’s more togetherness, sometimes less. The thing is, I don’t get to decide when. Seasons will not take the long way around to avoid me simply because I have all these plans. Best to be gentle with myself and give in to the too-late sunshine and too-long afternoons and too much grit on my skin. Decide to love lazy days at my favorite local beach with a picnic basket next to me on the blanket and kids scrambling over bleached out logs washed up on the shore.
So the sound of summer, I’m determining now, will be this: shhhh. Hush to the squirming nosy thing that keeps tugging at my flowy summer skirt, telling me to get to work. To move on with my agenda.
I’m here now, I’ll say to it. Can you see that? I’m eating coleslaw and strawberries and trying not to get sand in either one. That’s my biggest problem at the moment. Come back when the kids are at camp in a couple of weeks and we’ll talk. Until then, have a little bok choy slaw.
4 T grapeseed oil
2 T brown rice vinegar
scant T maple syrup
1 T tamari
scant T toasted sesame oil
½ tsp freshly grated ginger
½ – 1 shallot, thinly sliced
1 head fresh bok choy, thinly sliced
3-4 radishes, finely grated
1 mild salad turnip or ¼ of a jicama root, julienned or cubed
toasted sesame seeds
Put oils, vinegar, syrup, tamari, ginger and shallot in a medium bowl. Whisk well to combine and set aside to allow shallot to soften.
Prepare bok choy, radishes and turnip and toss to combine in a large mixing bowl.
Just before serving, give the dressing another whisk and pour over vegetables. Toss well and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve immediately and eat in the sun with your eyes closed.