While the summer months don’t last forever, it’s a great time to slow down a bit and enjoy barbecues and good weather. File photo

Column: Finding ways to balance work and play in the summer

This week’s Treena Mielke column looks at the summer months and things slowing down

Here it is only a few days into July and summer, deliciously tantalizing with its promise of sunshine and backyard barbecues, is stretching endlessly ahead of us.

Of course, as we all know, that statement is a fallacy.

Summer does not stretch on endlessly, but is over in less than a heartbeat.

For my husband and I, summer, at least so far, has been mostly observing things and people and places.

We observe the grass growing and the flowers blooming into exquisite blooms that nod and smile and look gorgeous and we observe all the people at the lake as we drive to our own private resort town oasis, which happens to be our own back yard.

We observe the sky and the darkening clouds and say smugly to each other, “It sure looks like rain today,” as we scurry inside where it is safe and warm and dry.

And we observe the branches of our family tree, noticing how they bend and sway with the force of life’s little challenges, somehow ending up comfortably back at our kitchen table, ready to step into our world, if only briefly.

And we are grateful.

We observe the grandchildren, noticing little things, like new front teeth, how tall they are getting and how surprisingly good at least one of them is at checkers.

I love summer.

I see it as a time that holds the promise of playing a little, working a little, and balancing those activities out by watching the grass grow, hearing the birds sing and feeling the warmth of the sun’s rays on my skin.

Hoping to stay in the loop with our grandkids, we spent much of June going to ball games, cheering exuberantly, but not too exuberantly so as to be an embarrassment to the more restrained members of the family.

It was fun, but the season is mostly over now, so we have to move on to the next major activity.

Dog sitting.

In my day, dogs knew their place; I tell Marble the dog, who has come to stay. Mostly, they stayed outside. They were allowed only to come indoors when it was too cold for man or beast to not seek shelter.

Marble listens to me and wags his tail and looks expectantly at his leash.

I have discovered taking the dog for a walk is better than reading Eckhart Tole’s book, “The Power of Now.”

Really, that dog could have written the book.

When we leave I look at the clock. I figure I have 15 minutes to go for this walk before I head off to work. But, apparently, Marble doesn’t have a built in clock and if he did, he would have no intention of following it.

He wants to sniff every blade of grass. He wants to urinate beside every tree and everything that even looks like a tree. And then when he’s not sniffing or urinating, he wants to flip over on a patch of dirt and wiggle his little body until he is filthy. He seems to find this activity quite exhilarating.

In my best, ‘I’m actually the boss,’ kind of voice, I tell the dog we have to get going. I explain I have to get to work.

The dog totally ignores me and goes on sniffing and wiggling and urinating. He is blissfully happy.

Anyway, on this particular day in summer, when the honeybees are buzzing around the roses outside my front door, and the air smells sweet and clean like summer, I look helplessly at the dog rolling in the dirt.

I wonder if the person who wrote the book, Everything I learned, I learned from my dog, ever had a dog like Marble and a job at the same time.

Probably not, I decide, as I lead the dog into the house and proceed to balance my day with a little work.

The play will have to come later!

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