The public schools let out for the summer break this past week. I’m not sure who was more excited, the students or the faculty and staff. When you are a child you look forward to the summer break almost as much as Christmas. When you are a teacher the summer break is a chance to recharge your batteries. It’s an opportunity to travel for a few weeks on vacation and then start getting ready for a new year.
When I was a teenager in middle school, back then it was called Jr. High; the first day of summer break opened up the possibility of new adventures in life. Of course I was living a relatively sheltered life on military bases. It was a safe place for me and my friends to ride our 5-speed stingray bicycles anywhere our legs were strong enough to take us. We rode our bikes for miles and miles.
We could ride our bikes over to one of several lakes where we could camp out without the damper of parental supervision. Never mind that the military police would always drive by and check on us and call our parents to let them know we were not up to any serious mischief. Each week we tried to think of new places to see and do. Those summer days were long. The sun stayed up almost until 9:00 PM. The mornings were cool, the days were hot, and we hoped that our summer break would last forever.
Now that I am 65, I’m rediscovering the joy and the importance of sabbath time in my life. Liz and I so enjoy our Tuesdays in Tennessee traveling adventures. We never run out of ideas or adventures for us to pursue. This year we hit the Blue Ridge Parkway. I’m glad we did. Otherwise I would have missed seeing the wild elk at Cherokee, NC. I also would have missed the wonderfully unique and quirky Alpine Inn, located in Little Switzerland and I never would have climbed Mt. Mitchell, the highest peak east of the Rocky Mountains.
It’s good for the soul to take small trips to new places. How else would you ever know about oddities like the mutant white squirrels in Brevard, NC? You also shouldn’t be afraid of trying new things. We were both in our 60’s when Liz and I first rode 17 miles downhill on the Virginia Creeper Bike trail in Damascus, VA. Because we were up for the adventure, we were able to see Arlo Guthrie in concert at the Opera House in Newberry, SC, and yes, we sang all the words to Alice’s Restaurant.
Taking time for sabbath is so important for the well being of our souls that our vestry chooses not to meet in the month of July. I just hope that all of us get away at some point the summer for our own adventures. Far too many people wish they would have when they could have. There is so much to see right here within two hours of Morristown.
Whenever I think about doing something new or different, I remember the chilling words from Jack Nicholson in the Shining. “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” None of us want to be like Jack.
Enjoy your summer sabbath. Be adventurous. Take the road less traveled. Try a new recipe. Climb a mountain and breathe in the air. Go the beach. Whatever you do, just get out of the house.