Earlier this week, I was working on my computer when I heard a loud sound, almost like an old-fashioned police siren winding up and down. It was clearly from some distance away but becoming closer. Curious, I peered down the street to find an excited elementary schooler pumping his fist and making his way home from his last day of school on his bike, blaring some kind of celebratory siren. I immediately started to smile, remembering that same joy from my childhood: the yearbooks we signed with H.A.G.S., the excitement of being able to sleep in and watch cartoons, the freedom from homework and assignments. Even if we are still in school, or tied to our assignments, I hope we can still recapture that overwhelming joy.
Here are my recommendations to make that joy palpable this weekend.
Eat: At a recent Cactus Cancer Society art workshop, I asked folks if they had a favorite popsicle color. I did not say “flavor,” because as a kid I would refer to the flavors as colors. I didn’t want a watermelon flavor, if that’s what it really was; I wanted the pink kind! This weekend, make or buy a pack of popsicles. I bought a pack of Strawberry Lemonade Popsicles at Aldi and have been enjoying them loads. Refreshing and delicious.
See: This past Wednesday was the Summer Solstice, which is the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. (Hello to any Southern Hemisphere folks! Happy Winter Solstice!) It had me thinking about sunrises and sunsets, free of any songs from Fiddler on the Roof. And so I’d like to suggest taking the time to watch either a sunrise or a sunset. Maybe you’re a morning person: great! Or maybe you’d prefer to watch the sunset. Either way, make an event of it. Find a tall place where you can watch it, or a coastal place if that’s easier for you. When I was younger, if we were down the shore (that’s “at the beach,” for anyone not from New Jersey) I’d find a day with my mom to watch the sunrise. We’d sit on our towel in the cold sand, my mom with her coffee in hand, and we’d watch the sky change colors. It was pretty magical. As someone who loves sleep, I’d often go right back to sleep upon returning to our rental, sand still clinging to my toes.
Do: I had the delightful experience of seeing Billy Joel and Stevie Nicks in concert last weekend. (This was a huge thing for me, as I am just testing waters now of being in such immensely crowded public spaces since the onset of COVID.) I have seen Billy before, and both of them put on a stellar show. There’s a really cool and powerful feeling wrapped up in live music, especially when so many of you can sing along to every lyric. Well, almost every lyric. In my years as a Billy Joel fan, I have never quite conquered “We Didn’t Start the Fire.” If you are unfamiliar, the song lists seemingly endless historical events. Many, including myself, only know to anchor ourselves in phrases like “Belgians in the Congo.” I had remarked to my friend Kelli how I’ve considered sitting down to memorize all the lyrics, just because.
And so, I present this challenge to you: memorize something just because. Maybe it’s the list of United States and their capitals, perhaps it’s a length of numbers in pi, or even the full list of Super Bowl winners. Do some of these options have much of a point? Well, no. But is it a fun party trick? Oh, definitely.
Have an icy, sun-centered, by heart weekend,