A year ago I told a friend that I was inspired to make a submission on behalf of Edward R. Murrow’s legacy to This I Believe. I’ve raised children, I am passionate about my extended family, friends, and a number of causes for which I work. I have run a successful private school for twenty-three years, mid-wifed babies and never lost hope. “But I have no idea what to write,” I said. ” what is it I believe?” His quick response was my great gift, “If you don’t know what you believe in, you need a vacation.”
It’s been a hard year for me and even though I smiled every time I thought of what he said, I was still too tight to let it go. I’d made this little work of writing too important. A year later, just yesterday afternoon I was waiting for a friend outside a restaurant in New York City in my car. The floor was filled with sand and residue from another summer day and I laughed out loud, surrounded by emblematic simplicity and began to write on the back of my parking stub from last week’s baseball game. In this I believe:
I believe in sand in the car and plastic buckets and in the good mess of summer. I believe in fireflies temporarily in a jar and June bugs gathering around porch lights. I believe in rushing inside so they won’t get in while at the same time I believe in all the things that can’t be rushed. I believe in fresh air through open windows. I believe in a lazy good night’s sleep. I believe in charcoal grills and coolers filled with lunch. I believe in the inconvenience of eating outdoors and I believe in iced coffee and also champagne in paper cups because there are certain things that are only great in summer. I believe in lemonade stands and double decker ice cream cones and left over sparklers on the 5th of July.
I believe in flip flops and espadrilles and drawstring pants and baseball caps worn backwards. I believe in skipping stones and sitting in the sun. I believe in summer resolutions and the foolish fantasy this is the season that will stretch to impossible lengths. When summer comes I always believe there’s time enough to learn to dance, speak a new language, write the novel, fall in love. I believe in comic books, inconsequential novels and mushy movie reruns. I believe in sleeping late even thought it’s impossible when summer’s light knocks the day alive. I believe in making jam and porch swings and baseball. I believe in board games and inside jokes and jigsaw puzzles that just don’t get done. I believe in wet towels on the bathroom floor and vegetables from the garden, relatives that visit and I believe in shooting stars for wishes that will come true.
I believe in how little it takes to remind us how accessible a wealthy life of simple pleasure is . . . when we are granted summer.
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