"Summertime, and the livin' is easy" says the song.

Many of us grown-ups still secretly (or perhaps not so secretly!) wish that life included summer vacation as well as the winter and spring breaks like we had in school. Oh, to have the summer off, to know that two or three months of downtime are built into the system, that one is simply expected to lie in the grass and look at the clouds, or go crabbing off the dock every day, to read some books in a hammock or beach chair, to wear flip flops and beach coverups to lunch. To be on a schedule that doesn't include the alarm going off at 6:30 a.m. To go on long walks through the woods and days without phone and email or ride bikes to the store to get an ice cream to break up the long afternoon. To maybe even get a little bit bored.

Why do we go at it so hard all the time? Why do we punctuate our days with to-do lists and seasons with huge projects (clean out the garage!) and measure our productivity every night (I did this, I didn't get around to that, did you pick up the clothes at the cleaners like I asked you to?) and then feel bad about the gaps and lapses, sometimes to the point of not being able to give ourselves credit for the things we actually do accomplish.

I am terrible about this. I decide I must be productive, make my lists, think up all kinds of things that absolutely need to be done, and then don't do many of them. So I am neither regularly productive (except for when I get on a kind of manic productivity tear, but fortunately for everybody these don't tend to last too long and they're certainly not regular) nor easy-going (because I feel guilty or bad about being unproductive). Oh to be a little bit bored not by the mundane tasks that regularly face me but by being oblivious to all the stuff I could be/need to be doing.

My own way of escape is to take a day to read a novel, even though I have other stuff to do. I will declare (to myself) that I am taking a reading day, and I do it. But even then, I pronounce myself to have accomplished something by reading a book. I don't seem to be able to avoid sizing myself up on a daily basis. And often finding myself wanting.

As I write this, my page-long to-do list sits beside me, accusing me. (Daily writing is on the list, but since it's daily, I can't check it off.) Perhaps its time to go outside and look at the clouds.