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Summer: A Time for Connection and Reflection by Amy

This post originally appeared on my blog

I am always pleasantly surprised when, as an adult, I feel the effects of summer. When you are a kid or young adult and are on the school year/summer cycle, it is part of your DNA. But as an adult, especially one transplanted from the Midwest to Southern California, it was always hard to connect with for me. The subtleties of the seasons here escaped me. As a working mother of school age kids, I connected to the cycle in a new and different way. Now. as practically a native Californian (officially half my life) and a working mother of older teenage children, the school year/summer cycle has taken on a new twist. Especially this summer.

This summer is my youngest daughter’s last summer as a high school student. It is also her first summer as a non-camper at her sleep away camp. She is a CIT this summer. She left three days after her last day of school and will be gone six weeks, her longest time away from home ever.

My oldest daughter has been home from college on her summer break since early May. So this summer, everyone has their own summer rhythm, me included.

With Dana gone, Sophie working, Paul working and my work easing up from the intense pace of the fall – spring I am rediscovering summer. I am rediscovering and enjoying a lack of routine, a lack of schedule, a lack of demands on my time. It has been a very long time since I have felt this feeling. It is strange, it is a bit sad and a bit liberating all at the same time.

For me, summer has always been a time for friendships and creativity. As a child and teenager, I was a camper and loved the intensity of sleepaway camp. As an adult, summer is a time for me to reconnect with my friends, who are patient enough to wait for my work schedule to die down enough to make plans to lunch or walk or just hang out. Summer is also a time for me to recharge and reconnect with my creative side.

Well, I don’t actually create anything of my own; I am an appreciator of others’ creativity. Summer is a time for outdoor art festivals and concerts, theater and so much more. I know these things take place all year long, but summer is a time when I have time — or I feel I can take the time — to experience them. And in the summer there seems to be an explosion of these creative presentations. I am always amazed at the diversity and the wealth of talent I see.

I recently had a very good, although expensive week. I went to two musicals, a dance performance and an art show. That is what I call a recharge! The dance performance was particularly close to my heart for many reasons, a few of which I would like to share. The show was “Break,” an Eveoke Dance Theater production at the La Jolla Playhouse, where Eveoke just finished a residency.

 Eveoke never disappoints; they push the boundaries of creative expression with each performance they give. They were the first professional dance experience Sophie had. We continue to be grateful and inspired by their work. If I were an artist, my mission would be the same as Eveoke’s — to “cultivate compassionate social action through evocative performance, arts education and community building.” In fact, as a non-artist, this mission describes my ultimate experience. Sometimes I enjoy escapism but not as much as deeply moving, heart-wrenching or thought-provoking experiences.

Eveoke had community partners for each performance and, as it turned out, their partner the evening I went was The Foundation for Women. They are an organization committed to helping impoverished women through microcredit, and they’re right here in San Diego. In fact, two recipients of these loans were at the performance and they spoke about their small businesses and products. It was a very moving part of the evening for me and the official program had not even begun. It moved me in the same way our Shop with a Conscience section does. I love the correspondences I have with the women, artists and entrepreneurs whose talents are exhibited in our own virtual art show. The products are creative, thoughtful and each one make the world a better place in some small way. Shop with a Conscience is like a summer art festival all year long!

Naturally, I went up to these women after the performance, introduced myself — something I am prone to doing — got some literature and promised to follow up, to try to join forces in some way. And, so, my summer had officially started. Let the meaningful connections continue! I went to the theater alone, a bit empty feeling, not knowing what to expect, and I left feeling so many emotions, alone no longer among them.


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