Welcome, Summer!

Summer 2017-Day 01: Welcome, Summer!

Today is one of my most favorite days of the year! Memorial Day weekend signals the unofficial start of the summer season here along the Jersey Shore, but today it’s official. I’m celebrating the Summer Solstice by embracing and appreciating everything SUMMER and all that comes along with it.

The first day of summer, to me, is a bold reminder that anything is possible this season. Summer’s newness is a fresh start…time to begin anything again or for the first time. The only goals I have are to write and to live with appreciation while having fun.

Along my boardwalk walk this morning, I stopped frequently to take in the sights, the sounds, and the smells I encountered as my feet headed north. The aroma of the coffee brewing from the coffee house combined with the sweet smells of the sea air and the cotton candy that was being prepped for the day stopped me in my tracks…so delicious! The beaches were dotted with umbrellas here and there as they weren’t crowded just yet. Most badge checkers and lifeguards were still prepping the beach for the day. A local morning radio show was broadcasting outside of the Aquarium, with a few penguins, snakes, and a tiny alligator along with plenty of Aquarium staff as their on-air guests. I strolled along, stopping here and there to take a photo, and when I reached the Inlet end I was pleasantly surprised to find it empty. I sat in one of the new white, rocking chairs and relaxed there in solitude, rocking for about ten minutes. I took in all of the sights of the Inlet, from the west to the north to the east and observed the calm meeting of the current and the sea, quite rare for the mouth of the Inlet I can assure you. Then it was time to turn around and head back south down the boardwalk. One of the benches near the Inlet was decorated with red, white, and blue bows, and was dedicated in memory of Cpl. Kevin J. Reinhard from Woodbridge, NJ, who was killed in Afghanistan in 2012. I paused for a moment of silence to honor his legacy. I once again took my time as songs from my summer playlist played quietly through my earbuds, but not too loud to hear the occasional hellos and “Good Morning!”s from passerbys. I made sure to reply to each well wisher with a smile and a kind hello. As I took a picture of the palm fronds with the blue sky as a backdrop, a small plane entered the viewfinder at just the right time. I turned around and took a few photographs of the empty ride area and thought about how full of activity it would be in a matter of a few hours with children and adults laughing as they soared into the sky or spun around and around. I am glad I moved at my own pace because it made for a more meaningful experience.

When I returned back home, I took pictures of each day lily that bloomed today and picked a handful of ripe blueberries to add to yesterday’s till. I spent almost two hours at the library researching my family history after receiving a few more emails from my new cousins with more details about my Grandpa C.’s side (stay tuned for that update!). We took two beach runs and I’m now writing this outside on my lounge chair as the goldfinches and the house finches and the sparrows eat while the catbird sings for me. The bees are busy at the clover flowers and there’s a stillness as a few storm clouds are approaching from the west. And with the Severe Thunderstorm Alerts I just received, it’s time to head back inside.

It was a glorious day this Day 01 of Summer 2017, rumbles of thunder and all. Truly glorious.

I hope your day was glorious, too.

Until next time,

Jill

PS: The deluge of rain that’s now wreaking havoc outside? I still find it glorious. 🙂

Let’s Live This August

My friend posted this meme yesterday. I shared it on my profile, then really thought about what the meme is saying.

August is like the Sunday of Summer.

It sure is.

Don’t get me wrong…I still love every summer day no matter what the month might be.

I just want to hold onto Summer so much. It’s my season, when I am my best self.

June is a new beginning, a giant sigh of relief. It’s full of opportunity and wonder, like January 1 kicks off every year. Anything is possible. It’s refreshing and reassuring. It’s also deceiving, leading us on to believe that there’s plenty of time to get our summer “to do” and “to enjoy” lists completed.

Then comes July, which is like my favorite pillow. I can hug it a thousand times, or play with it over and over, and it never loses its shape. It’s there when I wake, and when I say goodnight to the day. I can sleep soundly with that comforting pillow, free from worries and nightmares. It reassures me that tomorrow is another day when I can still start fresh, no need to really be concerned about the passing days…

As July wanes into August, things change again, ever so subtly. Each day is now filled with a little more urgency. Sunsets get earlier as the sun’s early evening slant changes its angle and becomes less intense day by day. Many of the bright summer flowers have lost their blooms, and nights become slightly cooler by the week. I look back at June and July, and wonder where the hell those days went. I then look ahead at what’s still on my summer goal lists, crossing some things off because there’s no longer enough time to accomplish everything I had hoped to do.

The lone cricket’s serenade that woke me early this morning affirmed that yes, it is indeed August already.

So, what do we do now?

Let’s live in the present and forget our lists.

Let’s hold onto each moment, to each day, to each experience.

Let’s notice the breeze blowing through our hair and feel the rain on our skin.

Let’s put our feet in the salt water and find eternity in the waves.

Let’s savor the ice cream cone, the watermelon, the corn on the cob, the peaches and plums.

Let’s laugh and sing with family and friends.

Let’s be grateful for all that we have, for all that we are, for all that we do, and for all in our lives.

Let’s face each day without worry, without fear, and without strings attached.

Let’s soak up every single second of August without leaving any time behind.

Let’s live.

Let’s live this August.

Will you join me?

 

 

 

 

Day 31 of 31 Days of Summer Lovin’ 2016: Enjoy!

Thank you to everyone who participated in the 31 Days of Summer Lovin’ Challenge for 2016. It has been a pleasure seeing all of your written and photographic responses to each prompt. The challenge has brought me new friends and new inspirations.

If you enjoyed this challenge and are looking for an August Challenge, head on over to Susannah Conway’s homepage and learn about her August Love 2016 challenge, which starts tomorrow.  She is one of my favorite writers, and I look up to her very much.

I apologize for my lack of participation in this challenge  over the past 3 days. My Internet modem is not functioning, and I’m conserving data on my phone until the next billing cycle. 

However, I have been enjoying life with less technology. It’s more authentic and real. I like to think that my modem crapped out so that I could experience real life, rather than seeing what appears to be real life through a technological device, even if that “real life” is me, just sitting here, writing in solitude.

Come tomorrow, when a technician is scheduled to fix our connectivity issues, I vow to remember that real life is what is important, and that I can get by without wasting so much time scrolling through Facebook or Instagram. 

I hope you continue to follow SoulSEAker, because I look forward to documenting my “mission from the universe” in August, as I will be embarking on a pilgrimage to Dublin. Stay tuned my friend!

Thank you again for following me. I am thankful for you, because YOU are helping me find my voice. 

Have a splendid day, and ENJOY it my friend!

Day 20 of 31 Days of Summer Lovin’ 2016: Shell

One of my favorite writers/authors is journalist Bob Greene. During the summer, some of my favorite books make their way into my reading rotation, four of which are by Greene.

One of his books is When We Get To Surf City: A Journey Through America In Pursuit of Rock and Roll, Friendship and Dreams. In a nutshell, the book chronicles his time spent touring with the legendary Jan and Dean and Surf City All Stars during a few summers.

Greene perfectly encapsulated both the idea of holding on to each little piece of summer and the importance of living our life’s best moments. From pages 313-314:

Once someone told me that we should regard the best moments in our lives as pebbles in a jar. The assumption should be that the pebbles are finite – even if we can’t count them by looking into the jar, we should assume that one day they will run out. We should withdraw them with care, one by one, never doing it by rote or distractedly. If we withdraw them too rapidly, we are being greedy, and will hasten the day when they are gone; if we hoard them, if we are miserly in keeping them in the jar, then we will rob ourselves of the experiences the good things should give us.

So it is with summers. If all of life were summer, then our world would have no texture, no context. Summer would not taste the way it does if we thought it would last forever. There’s no perfect way to remove the pebbles, no foolproof timetable. The closest we can come to perfection is to know just how precious those pebbles are, and to value each one.

I know that Jan [Berry] did. More than anyone I think I have ever known, he never took a single one of those pebbles for granted. He withdrew each one of them from life’s jar with gratitude, and with love.

The plane lifted off. Savor every day, every summer night. (Greene, Bob. When We Get To Surf City: A Journey Through America in Pursuit of Rock and Roll, Friendship and Dreams. New York: St. Marten’s Press, 1998.)

When I want to really remember a moment, I will take a seashell or rock from where I am, write the date on it with a Sharpie when I get home, and put it in my seashell memory jar.  In addition to taking the pebbles out and using them, like Greene describes, I also add memories to my jar.

This is My Shell Jar, Full of Memories and Experiences

In my jar are dated treasures from walks with my nephew, a rock from Stonehenge, some pebbles from Ireland, a few shells from Florida and our own beaches, and more. Each one holds a special place in my heart.

I am eternally grateful for the shells and pebbles I have spent, the memories I have collected, and the shells and pebbles left in my jar.

My wish to you is that YOU savor every day and every summer night.  Use a shell, spend a pebble, then replace it with a memory.

Author’s note: This was originally posted in August of 2015. I updated it today, 7/20/16. 

Day 09 of 31 Days of Summer Lovin’ 2016: Water

20160709a Blog Photo New Fonts

Crystal waves of

Aqua,

Turquoise,

Royal,

Still and then flowing,

Churning and then surging,

Erases the day’s debris

From the shore.

As night turns into morning,

The tide recedes

And returns

To calm.

The body of

Salt water,

The cure to whatever ails,

Christens a brand new day:

Each blue drop

a tiny part of the

Huge blue vastness

Brimming with

Wonder,

Life,

Rebirth.

 

“Water” by Jill Ocone, July 9, 2016