What are you doing for summer vacation? You know-summer vacation? It's going to be here before you know it. No more getting up early, no more demanding teachers and no more homework. The next three months are yours.
I've been working in the public schools this spring and because I turned 30 this year, because the weather this winter in Santa Fe was like it was when I was a kid, because I finished graduate school last year and am still trying to figure out how I'm ***image1***going to be both happy and make a living, I, like the students I'm tutoring, am faced with a period of free time. For me it's known as unemployment, but for them it's known as summer vacation. I know I'll get a job, there are lots of things I could do, but for now I'll indulge a fantasy: What am I going to do for summer vacation?
But first, I had to ask friends and family to fantasize about their own summer vacations.
Jean, formerly of Santa Fe, responded to my inquiry:
"I think if I could have a summer now, with no responsibilities or money worries, I would load up my husband and my dogs and invite my favorite sister and her husband and spend the summer on that lake, or another lake, with a canoe not a motor boat and a tent not a motor home. I would have the freedom to adventure wherever I chose. I'd go fishing and have a fish fry, and swim all day long, and ride bikes for miles and have picnics and, most importantly, I'd have bonfires like my dad used to build and poke the fire just as much as I wanted."
When I asked my friends to fantasize, I found most wanted to do exactly what they'd done as kids, which inevitably involved spending a lot of time in water. My mom, who grew up in Philadelphia as the daughter of a butcher, used to take several busses to go to the pool in another part of the city. They would pack a lunch and spend the whole day. If they didn't go to the pool they'd go down to the creek and explore, maybe look for bugs or interesting rocks or build a bridge or a raft.
A friend and Santa Fe native, Katy, admitted that as a teenager here she became a lifeguard just so she could stay by the pool.
What am I going to do on my summer vacation? Swim. I'm going swimming, but preferably not at any of the indoor pools, because I can do that in any season. There's only one pool I know ***image2***of in Santa Fe that's outdoors, but don't despair: Swimming in the summer is fun because you're outside in the elements, so get out and find those little swimming holes that are sure to be full this summer. Wherever you go the sun will be shining down on you, the sky above will be a limitless blue and best of all you'll be floating, weightless, with nothing pulling you down. That's what summer vacation's about.
Just imagine-you pack a little lunch, gather your towel, maybe goggles, slip on your flip-flops, stand still for your mom or significant other to cover you in coconut sun block and then pile into the car, or get on the bus, or walk, or ride your bike to the pool, a creek, the lake. Your assignment for that day: See how long it takes for your skin to start to wrinkle and then spend at least two more hours in the water.
During one summer vacation, my sister and I had big dreams about building our own adobe house in the back yard and began the summer mixing mud and straw together, putting them into a brick mold, and waiting for them to harden in the sun. We soon realized this was a much bigger project than we wanted to undertake so we scaled back to mud pies and mud cookies. This summer vacation remember to get some dirt under your nails and get to know the grasshoppers and ladybugs living in your yard. Sit on your porch or stoop at night and listen to the crickets. Some people say the noise keeps them awake, but to me it's a summertime lullaby with the constant reminder; you have nothing to do tomorrow, you have nothing to do tomorrow. Spend summer vacation outside.
One summer vacation my family and I traveled to the ocean. My sister and I had never seen it before and, being from Santa Fe, we couldn't imagine an endless expanse of water. Our luggage got lost, but our parents let Susan and I swim in our slips. Sometimes the swimming is better when you forget your swimsuit.
There will be bugs this summer, lots of them, and it will be hot. It may be easier to find a spot to dip my feet in the water than a full-fledged swimming hole. But I plan to sit back, dig my fingers into the dirt and put my feet in the water. After all, it's my summer vacation.