The best summer I ever had was the time we went to Jasper. We camped at Whistlers. We hiked the Sulphur Skyline, we explored all of Maligne Canyon. We saw the Columbia Icefields and we even went whitewater rafting. That was the best summer ever.
Actually, if I think about it, the best summer ever was actually the spontaneous trip I took to the west coast to surprise visit my mom in Nanaimo. It was one of those epic road trips, where you didn’t quite know where you would end up. I just listened to music, drove and gaped at the scenery. I stopped in the Okanagan, floated the Penticton channel, went to wineries in Naramata and golfed at the Rise. Next stop was Vancouver, where we went to Stanley Park and shopped on Robson before a fresh sushi dinner.
Although maybe the best summer ever was the time I went out to Pigeon Lake and hung out at a cabin. I read more books that summer than I ever have: mysteries, thrillers, some humour books and some nonfiction. I think I actually got in 20 rounds of golf that summer — and that was on top of the time just lying on the beach and playing in the waves. A nice quiet summer close to home — that was the best summer ever.
Hmm… or was it the summer that I actually stayed right at home. We had built our garden boxes that spring, so we spent much time tending to the garden. We grew peas, carrots, beets, spinach, onions, lettuce — you name it! Then we just sat and talked on the patio into the evenings with a nice glass of wine.
But there was also the summer where we decided to explore our own city in a way we had never done before. We hit all of the places the tourists would go. We went to the museum, the art gallery, the science centre and we even did the mall. I think we took more walks in the river valley than I have in the rest of my life combined.
Then there was the summer that I caught up with an old friend, the summer I fell in love again, the summer I volunteered, the summer I watched a million movies and the summer I decided to focus on reconnecting with my family. Boy, this reminiscing is making me feel old!
Okay, confession time. I may not have done everything listed above. And if I am honest, my best summer ever was likely the time I went solo backpacking in Europe. The summer of 2021 won’t likely be the best summer ever – I don’t think anyone is going to Europe. COVID is still here and we are all really tired.
According to our research on teaching amid the pandemic, 93 per cent of teachers at the end of April were feeling exhausted by the end of the day. There were also overwhelming feelings of isolation. This school year has been a year like no other.
But this column is not about that, nor is it about the best summer ever.
This column is about looking forward and wishing you hope. While COVID will remain, there is optimism. Most of you are now vaccinated with your first shot and many of you will have a second dose before the end of the school year.
Things are opening up, and while we still need to take precautions, there are many things that we will be able to do that we haven’t done in a very long time.
And most of all, this school year is ending. Hope exists because there is light at the end of this tunnel and we can see it, and the circle of light is growing larger with every day.
It won’t be the best summer ever, but it will be an important summer. It will be the summer when we get to exhale and relax.
Take a few weeks to sit on your butt. Sleep in. Enjoy morning coffees in the sun. Do whatever you need to do to shut down.
Then get on with enjoying your summer in whatever way works best for you. There are lots of options out there to make it a very good summer, and I hope maybe I have inspired you a little.
Please take care. We love you; we see you.
Have a good summer. ❚
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