Summer is officially here and when the word “summer” passes my lips, I’m taken on a journey of memories and sensations. It’s June 1969. I’m lying on my stomach, barefoot with legs tangling in the warm air, in a soft patch of grass under a favorite maple tree at my childhood home. School is out! Freedom. I hear a medley of bird calls (red-winged black birds, cardinals, and chickadees) as well as the hissing of hedge trimmers and the percussive sound of waves breaking on the shore beyond the potato fields. Excitement is percolating in my sun-warmed body. So many options now that the routine has shifted. Time to fully breathe again, eat fresh asparagus, and pick strawberries. Time to spend with family and friends who drop by only during the summer months for a meal, a chat, a week’s stay.
Back to the present in Berkeley, in the Durant House, I also notice a shift to moments of quiet and calm, as the middle-school students at the adjacent East Bay School for Boys are on their summer break and no longer outside in the play yard with basketballs, backpacks, and the energy that bursts forth from 12 year olds. Many of the Cal students are also on break — some thousands of them — so the Berkeley streets have a calmer buzz — shorter lines at the yogurt shop and empty tables at the Blue Door Cafe. Our church calendar is less full as some groups take a month or two hiatus and some programs end for the summer. In worship we’ve already celebrated the church’s birthday with Pentecost’s vibrant reds and tongues of fire and have shifted to those many Sundays of ordinary time in the liturgical year. The heat is turned off in the Sanctuary and the windows are cracked open.
May there be opportunities for you to fully breathe this summer as your routine shifts, the weather warms, and we allow ourselves to slow down. Consider participating in a Summer Small Group (see listings at http://bit.ly/2WIB1Xt) to experience one another in community, perhaps in a different setting, learning a new thing, deepening a practice, listening to music, and opening to each other. Amen.