|Duncan drinking in Italy 2013|
Then, last week, things turned. I know when I've had enough vacation each summer because suddenly little children become intensely interesting again. Last summer it happened at an outdoor table around the corner from Piazza San Marco in Venice: a group of Italian bambini, ages 3-7, were climbing all over a dry fountain in our small, enclosed piazza, and even in a foreign language they were suddenly tremendously more entertaining than the boisterous and traditionally very entertaining European relatives we were with.
This year it happened last week while I sat waiting for my 15-year-old to finish playing a summer league soccer game: a younger brother, maybe 6, in the bleachers behind me, with his confident, erudite pronouncements about everything under the sun, distracted me easily from both the game and the book I was trying to read. (It's something about the openness of young children, how nothing is calculated or self-conscious as they try out positions, ideas and interactions, both physical and intellectual.)
And yet, having enjoyed an ample sufficiency of relaxation, I found myself not quite achieving anything for several days. I wanted to tackle my long summer Tasks list that has been dutifully syncing across my devices; certainly I kept looking at it; and yet at the end of the day nothing was cross-offable. I finally took action. I sat on Monday with a legal-size sheet of physical paper and a mechanical pencil, and I drew a calendar of my [choke] last three weeks of summer break. I filled in all the scheduled events, and then I added in all the as-yet-undone projects and...oh my. Time to Get Down to Business.
On Wednesday I awoke in the dark at 5am (as usual), with just a little tickly anxiety pricking me about things to get done--and it felt good! Having kicked a really damaging adrenaline habit, it was good to feel like my productive self again, with some focus and a plan in place. Then I went back to sleep until 6:30. : )
No need to overdo things for now! Five-year-olds and school and work and routine and opportunities are on my mind again, but I'll enjoy the less-structured, daydreamy mornings for a little longer.
One of the items of business was to fill out forms for a very nice upshot of having poems in The Poetry Friday Anthology. A Texas school district is buying the rights to a group of poems for 3rd graders, so that they can post them on a website for easy classroom access (what a great idea, right?). The remuneration for this extra use of my poem is modest, but it's a thrill for someone whose writing can't be a main income source for now. Duncan, age 11, saw me working on the permission forms and asked what poem they wanted. It's a good one for this moment in my summer arc, at the top of the roller coaster between vacation daydreams and the first day of school.
all rights reserved
Duncan read it, laughed and said, "Yeah, that poem is worth fifty bucks!"
You can enjoy more worth-y poems over at Reflections on the Teche with Margaret, today's Poetry Friday host.