Summer afternoon—summer afternoon;
to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.
~ Henry James
The ubiquitous quote about summertime.
There's a name for what we try to capture on a summer afternoon. Eutrapelia. It's a virtue! This link provides a good description, including a St. Thomas Aquinas quote. And who can argue with Aquinas?
My description? Finding balance; knowing there's a time for work and a time for play. Taking time for relaxation in ways that recharge body and soul. Making a conscious effort to stop and smell the roses. An intentional recreation, but also an unstructured recreation.
I like to do this during the summer. Intentional retreat. Don't get me wrong, I am happy my children have interests outside the home. I enjoy field trips to museums and last-minute plans to have a picnic. However, I am a firm believer in regular retreats from activity. For older children, this retreat often takes the form of reading. For younger children, this involves unstructured art projects or splashing play with water. Of course, the older kids have water fun and the young ones like books, too. For me, it means a book or magazine and a cold drink of iced tea, iced coffee, or a sweet wine. Together, we've been having lovely conversations on the porch, under the pergola, surrounded by my comforting wall of green.
The last summer afternoon of June, the younger children were playing with a sprinkler and a small, inflatable pool. I was reading and indulging in a square of dark chocolate. I had an unexpected visitor at my side. Happily, my camera was nearby.
Be sure to take the time to practice eutrapelia!!!