I announced it nearly every day at half-past two. “Quiet Time!” I’d trumpet. “Time for siesta!” And lest you assume it was to benefit the boys, let me set you straight: Quiet Time was purely to keep my own summertime sanity intact.
I didn’t care. I grabbed my book and plunked into a patio chair out of earshot with a glass of iced tea, the air stultifying, mere hint of breeze rippling the river birch leaves. Sometimes Noah joined me with his own book, although it bugged him when I rested my bare feet on his chair. Sometimes he spent the hour in his room with Finny, his fish.
Out on the patio I read Frances Mayes’ Under the Tuscan Sun. I pretended I lived not in Nebraska, with 104-degree heat that baked everything in my backyard to the consistency of a Pringle, but in Tuscany, amid rolling vineyards and olive groves. In Tuscany, where it’s perfectly acceptable to sip wine at noon on a weekday.
Throughout the summer, In an hour a day I read through Circle of Quiet (Madeleine L’Engle), Escaping into the Open (a writing book, one of the best I’ve read yet, by Elizabeth Berg), Still (by Lauren Winner – I’m enrolled in a writers’ workshop with her this fall and am scared witless!), and, most recently, Wild (a memoir so good it made me almost quit writing altogether, by Cheryl Strayed).
I tell you, that hour every afternoon on the patio? It saved me. It may have saved the boys, too.
What saved you from certain insanity this summer?
So next Friday is the last installment of Graceful Summer. We’re actually back in school here in Nebraska, but since August still feels like summer to me, I decided to continue the series until the end of the month. So come back one more time next Friday!