Drifting over salt water, as deep and blue as my daughter’s eyes, we spend a lazy summer afternoon on the water. The basin where we currently are set is past the North Port Harbour in western P.E.I., and we find ourselves tracing the shores of the sand hills, all while traveling alongside the protected shoreline of the Cascumpec Bay. This place where boat touches the elusive deep is sacred, a place where one is close to nature and to God. Where the regular hum of activity is but a distant memory. And instead of rushing about, getting things done, we are at times just idling along.
The radiant sunlight, both brilliant and glaring, spreads its warmth over my skin. The fishing boat that carries this animated crew is alive with activity of a different nature than its usual sort. On board, there is lots of chatter and a few whom play silly games in the helm, free from the prying eyes of adults. Some hang feet over the side to catch the spray off the wake. Other sink into lawn chairs and snooze. One is getting sailing lessons inside the cuddy.
I am perched on the side board, looking out over the water. It is glorious to be here, in this moment. This day set aside for rest and unwinding the tightly bound muscles of the soul. It’s a reunion day with family and friends; a day whittled away on the back of a boat going nowhere fast. And time stands still, or though it seems, for in these precious moments I let go and breathe deeply the goodness of life.
I taste the salt water on my lips.
And I realize that whether or not I choose to embrace the calm, it is here. There are pockets of time in life that we can choose to guard and shelter. Schedules can sometimes wait, and so can commitments. Sometimes it feels good to say “no;” or, “wait” or “I’ll do that later.” Because all too often, I don’t put off until tomorrow what can be done just as well then. I mostly do everything today, everything that is, but rest. And so, I push myself until I drop. My flame flickers and threatens to burn out. My cup empties. I deplete myself of refreshment. I empty.
This summer, as usual, there are endless activities, practices, family commitments, appointments and birthday parties for which I am expected to show up. Some of which, I am expected to host. Some I organize. And some I plan. You would think the summer would be easier than the rest of the year, but it is like anything else. It can be a hectic, busy time of the year. If we allow ourselves to fill up our day planners, then we cannot expect life to be restful. Those two do not generally go hand in hand: a full schedule and rest.
And so, I name them, those restful moments thus far when I read several books, slept in and stood in the crashing waves. Those precious times when I walked barefoot on the beach, watched a brilliant sunset, enjoyed fireworks or ordered supper in. Can there be more? When I lounged on the couch, sat on our porch swing, and licked an ice cream cone- it was pure idleness. When I held a child on my lap, pushed off on a swing and rode my son’s bike. Joy in rest and relaxation. And although life is busy and the days fill up with more than enough activity to keep me moving, I don’t want to regret a single moment. I want to preserve in my day a few moments in which I can truly rest and savor the goodness of what it is to be human. Which is to say, that I will attempt to do the following: savor the fragrant smell of wild summer roses. And drink in the heady scent of summer rain. And feel grass beneath my feet. Touch hands. Embrace. Let go. Rest.