Every year, Darwin and I begin our northern summers thinking about all the wonderful things we can do during the season…take that multi-day canoe trip down a wide, peaceful river, horseback into a remote wilderness lodge, improve our outdoor orienteering skills…. Or go exploring the nearby monolith city with its glossy storefronts and ruined alleyways. There seems to be no end to what we can explore! We start the summer season full of optimism and expectations of months of satisfied wanderings.
I think we suffer from some form of collective amnesia (probably a necessary condition for living in a province where it can snow every month of the year — and did in 2005). The fact is that summers here are frustratingly short! We’re frost-free for only about 115 days in Calgary compared to 275 days in Victoria. The leaves on trees in town finally got around to leafing out a week or so ago which is about 55 days after the official start of spring. Although autumn stretches on the calendar to December 21, we’ve been under snow for sometimes up to 60 days before that. Every year we forget how short our window of time is in which to get out and explore without having to resort to multiple layers of clothes and handwarmers. And this means that every year we reach, scheme and dream of more than we can possibly do in the time available to us.
This week, we were trying to schedule in a few backcountry hikes, a festival, a trip out west and some family obligations. Hmmm…looking a bit challenging! Another consideration is that images of green, summery landscapes sell better than cold, white wintry ones, so summer is also a prime working time for us as photographers. As we sat there, with calendars and daytimers spread out on the table, I realized then that we go through this every year. In fact, I felt just like I did a few months after making (and breaking) those New Year’s Resolutions! Aaarrrgghh! High hopes and good intentions dashed!
But it’s not the making of resolutions that is the problem…really, we’re pretty spoiled in our culture in terms of having lots of leisure time. I think the problem (at least for me) is the timing of the resolutions. Instead of New Years Resolutions, we should have Summer Resolutions! If time is preciously short during this special season, then we should prioritize ruthlessly what will be done. Not all of it need be for pleasure or goofing off; the business must be run, after all. But if two months a year is the only window for a canoe trip or backcountry hike, then maybe a little priority should be given to ensuring you get to those activities. Resolve to do at least one thing that you put off every summer, and I bet once you give that activity official status as a Resolution, the result will be one resolution you didn’t break.
What would be your Summer Resolution?