Summer in a small town brings about all sorts of carefree, rebellious, and good natured behaviors. There's swimming and fishing- often in the same pond. Rides thru the back country roads with the windows down and the music blaring. There are backyard barbecues, sprinklers and sparklers ad nauseam, and more cantaloupe than you could ever actually want. Not to mention an entire festival dedicated to the fruit. (And no. I'm not kidding on that one.)
Summer also means a heated kind of madness. Somewhere between the fireworks and the fireflies people just go plum-freakin-insane.
...And I'm related to most of them.
(Just kidding you guys. Sort of. ..I love you.)
Actually, the kind of madness I'm talking about is the mounted frustration that finally gets unleashed after months of harsh winters and even harsher attitudes. Cabin fever has ceased and everyone's off their rocker. It mostly starts out as a visible, nagging fizzle right behind the eyeballs and mounts into something like a bunch of pop-its all going off at once.
For me this means questioning everything. Constantly. Mostly about myself. I get the case of the "Why Do I Even Bother?"s. The whiny, "I'm No Good At This & No one Listens to Me Anyway"s. Or worse, the Soul-to-the-Cheese-Grater Funk. Every Summer it happens. The Mopes & Funk come to visit, make themselves a pot of tea and tell me how No-Good I am. Eventually I kick them out, eat my weight in chocolate ice cream and finally re-tell myself that, YES, I am enough as is and that is that.
What helps me sluff off the slumps the best has actually been a piece of my own writing. Arrogant and snooty as it may sound, whenever I read this I am reminded of where I was when I wrote it. I was in the Summer Slumps, way down deep in the middle of them. From probably what was one of the worst periods of my life to date, I sat down with myself and had a good long chat. In the span of fifteen minutes I wrote something that I needed for myself, and that I needed to express the most to everyone else.
What spilled out then was a poem. Unpolished, messy, imperfect to the core. But it was true, it was honest, it was real. And every time I read it I feel a little bit more whole again. I present it to you here tonight in hopes that it might do the same for you.
Art that you can see, and know, and feel.
Something from that deep hollow inside of you
I want to give healing knowledge that soothes the gashes,
That smoothes as a balm
Onto all the aching places.
That hollow, sunken in part between your heart and your gut?
That's where I want to dwell.
I want to help you in your healing.
I want to give you what you crave,
I want to fill that hollow place
With all that you've needed
and longed for.
I want that bellowing from the hollow to stir you
Into taking action for yourself.
I want you to know that the darkness you are going thru
Is only temporary.
But while you are down there, learn from it.
Soak in all that deep, earthy darkness.
But always hold on for the day that the light comes in.
Do not be afraid of your own vulnerability: Wallow in it.
Appreciate it in others when they are willing to show you their
sin, sorrow, and their own hollow places.
When you do, when you've gone thru that darkness and learned from it,
then you can brush the hair from your eyes,
walk barefoot into the good light,
and grin into the wind.