Sunday, June 21, 2009

My Reading Summer

A summer of reading is a fantasy I've had for a couple of years now. Just recently I shared it with my husband. His immediate reaction was, "Uh . . . wouldn't it make more sense to want to plan 'a winter of reading?'”

Nope, sorry, that's not what I have in mind. My yearnings for a summer of reading started by being in the library in the summertime and observing seasonal people (those who have cabins or second homes in our area and spend part or the majority of the summer here) checking out big stacks of books. Adults, teens and kids leaving with book bags and armloads of novels, biographies, history books of the area, bird identification books, wildflower books, big, interesting picture books . . . I could just imagine them back in their summer abodes, or sitting on their tranquil docks jutting out into the water, taking advantage of vacation days and weeks devouring tome after tome. Reading, reading, reading as much as they wanted. (Jealousy took root in my heart.)

Yeah, that's what I want to be free to do. I never have enough time for reading. Just about the only time I do read is if I can get in bed early enough at night to have a half hour or so to lose myself in a book before the sandman hits me with something heavy. So to face the prospect of giving myself the whole summer to read? Maybe it's the feeling I had as a child in the summer with no responsibilities. My idea of heaven on earth.

Of course, this means I would have to forego putting in a garden that summer. (WHAT?! I can see my incredulous family and friends looking at me in disbelief. Mama Pea NOT put in a garden??) Truth to tell (and please don't publish this in the paper yet), I have been thinking seriously of letting the soil lie fallow next year. Yup, cover it with compost, mulch, grass clippings, till it in a couple of times, put back nutrients without taking anything out. Let it rest, replenish, gain fertility.

Okay, so I would still have to plant out one garden bed in lettuce for our fresh salads, one in spinach because we both crave that dark, green, vitamin and mineral-filled stuff, one of radishes because I'm addicted to them (I know, not what would turn the average person on, but they're cheap and harmless), and one bed of scallions. But that's only four beds as opposed to the 27 I normally plant out. Nothing in the field garden, nothing in the pumpkin/squash patch. Nada. Zilch. Zero. Emp-ty.

I'd still have the raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, flower borders around the deck and window boxes to take care of. Granted I would have enough outside work to tend to, but that would be minimalistic compared to my usual workload in the summer time. For me, gardening is a huge time-consumer (although I truly love it) and something that takes most of my energy and work hours. I wouldn't (be able to) forsake my inside duties, of course. That's a given.

Oh, oh, oh! I'm really thinking about it now. Hours spent in the hammock reading, the hours right after dawn on the deck with a book and my morning latte, afternoons by the lake with a novel and thermos of iced tea, late nights reading on the couch with the doors and windows open and a cooling breeze wafting through the house. If I hadn't been in the garden all day, maybe I could even stay awake long enough and late enough to finish several chapters at a crack . . . or even the whole book!

Would I get my fill of reading in a summer's time? How long would it take for me to feel satiated and/or wear out my reading glasses? Would my butt give out from sitting on it so many hours a day? What an interesting experiment it would be. My Reading Summer. Fantasy or reality? By gum, I'm seriously contemplating doing it next year. By gum, yes, I am.


RuthieJ said...

It's an appealing thought, but do you think you could actually do that?
If I tried it, I bet I'd only be able to sit and read for about 5 days and then I'd feel compelled to get out and start doing gardening and yard work again.

Mama Pea said...

Ruthie - That's the thing . . . would I/could I actually do that much reading over the summer? Guess I'll never know until I try it. Even though I'd eliminate the garden proper (which would give me hours each day of "free" time), I'd still have the berries and other yard work that I'd have to keep up with so that would save the circulation in my bod from becoming stagnant!

And, oh, would I ever miss all the preserving and stocking of the freezer(s) that I do from the garden. But, doggone it, if I don't start doing some of these things that I say I've always wanted to do, it might be "too late" sooner rather than later. If I got flattened by a large beer delivery truck next April, I'd be really bummed I never went for my summer of reading earlier!

Melissa said...

That does sound tempting. Go for it! We only get to go around once and the garden will always be there the next spring. Sounds like you'd still have plenty to do with the berries etc.

Mama Pea said...

Melissa - Thanks for the encouragement!