SUMMER? Forget about it.

Doing less in Algonquin Park, Ontario

by Leslie Anthony

Summertime, and the livin’ is easy. At least that’s how George and Ira Gershwin put it in the first line of their famous 1935 song. Had they penned it today, they would probably have said that in summer, living is slow. Or at least that we expect it to be—more relaxed, a time to look around and take stock of what we’ve accomplished, maybe even enjoy it a bit.

What do you remember most about summer? That when you were young it seemed a long, cautious eternity of sunny days and swimming pools until the dreaded moment your mother announced that school would soon be starting again? Or that as you got older summer seemed to fly by each year with ever-increasing velocity until it seemed less a season than something glimpsed through a speeding car’s window?

Adults spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to reclaim those memories of long, languid childhood summers. But it always seems to involve trying to do more, hoping an overload of activity will somehow bring back the notion of leisure. I have a suspicion, however, that there’s only one real way to make summer last: slow down; do less; own every minute. Forget about all those things you should try. Forget about what you think you need to do. Forget about trying to remember what came before or after.

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Because summer, whether it passes quickly or slowly, is about nothing more than the moments that make it up.