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Between Mind and Body

Dear Summer

My Letter To Summer
Flowers from an Omaha Farmers Market
Published on September 13, 2010

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Dear Summer,

I’m just curious, why does it seem like you are trying to leave us a little too early this year? Do you not remember how Winter brutalized us with what seemed like a million feet of snow and sub-zero temperatures? I mean, I like Fall and all. Despite the inevitable onslaught of allergies, Fall is one of my favorite seasons.

But summer, even with your aggressive heat and sometimes unwarranted thunderstorms and tornado warnings, you are a favored friend. I like your long nights and your sometimes slower mornings. Remember when I promised that you and I would spend a lot of time at the public pools this year? Yeah, I know I only went once and sat in the parking lot because of that whole thunderstorm, but it’s the thought that counts. I also had some ambitions to ride my bicycle to work a lot and run outside, you know, you and the heat index ended that run.

But, Summer, I did enjoy the local Farmer’s Markets. This year it seemed like you inspired a lot of the neighborhoods to celebrate local produce and products (Downtown, Aksarben, Midtown, Village Point, Benson and more). That was fun. I also enjoyed meeting the friendly folks at the Community Bike Shop; they really helped me figure out what was happening with my little hand-me-down blue and silver Sedona Street Giant bicycle (aka Giant).

Summer, even with all of your ups and downs, I will miss you. I know, I know, you aren’t over yet…we have a few more weeks to hang out and I want to savor every one of those moments.

September 21 will come quickly, I will like that extra hour, but for now, Summer, let me tell you a few ways that I will be present to you in the next weeks…and honor your memories the rest of the year.

Adult Swimming Lessons

The local YMCAs offer a number of adult swimming lessons throughout the year. I took swimming lessons throughout my childhood. I slapped on the sunscreen during summer camps. I took the swimming lessons to swim in the camp pools and lakes. And I realized that I was pretty much a solar powered amphibian girl.

After reading a recent BBC article Why don’t black Americans swim?  I was inspired to sharpen my rusty swimming skills. The United States sees almost 3,500 accidental drownings each year….that is 10 a day. Being an African American woman who was taught how to swim as a child, I want to participate in the progress that is being made across the country in teaching swimming skills to the non-white community.

Run Outside

I know I’m not an Omaha native, but I’ve gotten used to the rolling hills of the city. There are days that I would prefer to run on the Wabash Trail, but for the most part, I like to experience the sounds and texture of Omaha. Before the weather gets too bad, I will run outside … and I will run outside without the distraction of my mp3 player. I’ll at least try. There are some really fun power songs that have gotten me up some of the monster hills in Midtown.

Journal/Meditate

There is something incredibly nostalgic about watching Saved By The Bell (SBTB) and Fresh Prince episodes in the morning.

Summer, remember those hazy mornings that I would wake up early in around 1998 to head to high school soccer practice? I would crawl out of bed and I would catch SBTB on TBS (when TBS had their unique :05 after start time?) before I had to be at soccer practice. Those were the days. I’ve carried on that SBTB and Fresh Prince tradition into my adulthood years. Oops.

I would like to replace my television shows with some journaling and/or meditation in the mornings. I’ve known about the importance of being still and present in the moment for years, but sometimes it’s easier to keep the television on than to listen to the stirrings of your soul. **It is important to note that I have been journaling since around the second grade, but when I am too busy or stressed in life, journaling goes to the bottom of the list.

Lay off the Social Media/Internet

First, it seems counter-intuitive and/or hypocritical for an Omaha.net contributor to even mention laying off of the social media/Internet since that is the medium that I am currently using to write this post. But if you see my timeline on twitter (@jara_b) or Facebook (www.facebook.com/jarabrooks) you will notice that many of my summer activities were documented with a little too much detail. From Foursquare checkins, Facebook status updates to TwitPics I managed to create a pretty significant social media footprint. CNN.com ran a Mashable article a few weeks ago. In the article Facebook feeds narcissism, survey says, the author writes:

For the average narcissist, Facebook ‘offers a gateway for hundreds of shallow relationships and emotionally detached communication.’

I will still use my social media outlets, they are fun, but I won’t let them rule my relationships or the end of my summer. There are a few mayorships I want to keep on Foursquare, but I won’t let the technology rule my decisions (**I never want the Overshare badge).

So Summer, I’m looking forward to the next weeks hanging out with you. I’ll chat with Fall in a few weeks. I have a few things I’d like to discuss with Fall anyway…things like why is College Football during one of the most beautiful seasons? And what should I do about these Fall allergies…but, for now, I’ll enjoy you and this amazing weather.

Love,

Me.

** If you see me out in social media land, say hello, but if you see me in real life, you better say hello! Or say hello below!

Jara_BI believe in the power of stories and I strive to provide everyone access to hearing and telling those stories.

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