Last weekend I attended a local fashion show, which might as well be held in a high school gym: with few exceptions all the models were teens. Bored and provocative ones. Youth culture glorified for an hour and a half while all I could think was here we go again. I mean really, is Lolita as far as we are ever going to aim for in women’s fashion? Must we be subjected to one slouched anorexic 15 year old after another in lieu of confident and poised women? Don’t get me wrong, youthful designs inspire me, a reminder that life can begin again and rejuvenate endlessly, but there is a vacancy that I object to, a detached apathy, as if our greatest achievements are better shrugged off. Kate Moss has that practiced look, as does her younger version Cara Delevingne as evidenced in their latest ad campaign. Smudged eyes, messy hair, with a “Oh? You’re here to look at us?” look. No matter that they are sporting ONE $2,000. Burberry trench for the TWO of them, we feel only disdain under their gaze, as if we are the intruders in their private game and not, as they are, only models used to sell some thing.
As the last of summer disappears from sight and we advance into a new month sans a holiday, I, like many of us, am faced with finding joy in the small moments tucked between the hustle and bustle of life. Listening to a colleague’s funny story. Watching the light reflect off a dark cloud. Setting a vase of fresh cut flowers on the table. Fleeting and random but joyous. If we look around. If we’re here now.
Two weeks living on the ocean’s edge, the only constants in my day was the sound of pounding surf and sand on my feet, a morning swim and bike ride to get milk or meet the ferry as more family arrived, filling the wagon with luggage and boxes of food, a walk along the shore, beach volleyball, afternoons riding the waves, beach yoga, shucking corn, beach dance music, eating peaches, beach runs, ice cream, laughing, moonlit swims, and letting the clock hands fade for a brief time-less span. Our only agenda, unwind and restore.
Nine Cent Girl is my love and joy, to ponder, to construct, and to write. However, for the next two weeks two other loves will dominate my time. First, writing and editing my novel all morning in my vacation-home-makeshift-office…
and second, lazing around with my family on the beach all afternoon. Time to ride the waves, collect shells, and listen to the stories.
Luckily, this August affords us the leisure to walk along the shore, chat about the months apart, and sit long enough to watch the sun set deep into the horizon until we relax fully.
These last dog days of summer take a hiatus from your day to day grind. Shift gears to low. September will be here soon enough.
Most of the time, okay all of the time, we plot our daily routine with certainty. Same for vacations. Airline tickets are bought in advance, as are hotel stays. We may opt for an odd mid-week dinner out from time to time, but mostly we are bound by schedule and calendar. However, there comes a time in July when the ocean beacons, and as Vermont is land bound, this requires a drive across the Green then White Mountains and through the Maine pines before you see that rocky shoreline. So with the spirit of summer as our guide, we broke all the rules and decided to go on an impromptu weekend excursion.
Recently I thought about the whole half-full half-empty glass question. In all honesty, I have to admit, I can be a half-empty person. Shocked? Well, that top half, the one that starts at the brim and ends in the middle, that half always looks so enticing. Nothing like a full glass. A first sip brings a smile to anyone’s face. And I’m always eager to get topped off to experience a full glass over and over again. But sometimes in the midst of a whole lot of fun I start worrying about the end. I stop being in the moment and before I know it I am no longer enjoying what is in front of me.
But right then and there in that realization I made a decision to look at my half-empty glass and see it not as empty, not yet, in fact, see there is much left to savor. A half-full glass of anything is still refreshing, so why not love every sip until the last drop? Why let my eyes drift to the bottom? Why worry about an experience being over while still enjoying it?
As we are mid-way through summer, I thought I’d end this pattern by not focusing on the end date, and look at the calendar with possibility. Plenty of mornings to swim. Plenty of dinners to cook outdoors. Plenty of nights to watch for shooting stars. Plenty of cocktails to toast with friends. Plenty of sunshine to fuel our funshine.
I know what you’re thinking, that frivolous Nine Cent Girl is out having fun again. Well, yes, it’s true. But this is July after all, and if you can’t let yourself enjoy the festivities popping up here and there, well, then you need to heed my do-as-I-do-advice immediately! In reality we are all working long weekday hours, and have countless responsibilities, so enjoying a rare free day is essential for our health and well-being. On this particular Saturday, I left my To-Do-List behind, hopped on my bicycle and rode from one exhilarating event to another strictly for play. My first destination was the Stoweflake Hot Air Balloon Festival.