Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | September 13, 2019

Summer of 19

Good morning, summer of 19

The Summer of 19

Labor Day is said to be the unofficial end of summer. But, it’s not the end of really hot and humid, suffocating summer in the South. College football Saturdays are the only real suggestion that seasons might actually change sometime. Certainly, after a September hurricane or two “breshing” by, summer should be close enough to being done for the ref to whistle it “over” – and the commentator to wrap it up in words. So, what of this summer of 19? For me, it was a summer of ‘summering’. Time spent in seasonal pursuits. A season well spent just doing what makes time worthy of the name – summer.

In American English, that means I mostly stayed home to summer in place. I left home – “Sanctuary” – for my week every month with family in Georgia. No summer vacay away. To my insane joy, the whole family gathered here for the 4th of July week. Summer was wonderful! It was hot. Humid. Stormy sometimes. Absolutely wonderful!

I’m so grateful to summer here at Sanctuary. Dawn’s light wakes me up. Often before sunrise, the light fills my bedroom and beckons me rise. I thank the Lord God for another day. Out loud. After necessities, I pad out on the deck to feel the temperature and humidity of the day and reckon how hot it’ll get later. I thank the Lord again. Many times I’ve taken pictures of the glory of morning on The Bay and posted them to Facebook.

If the water isn’t whitecaps and rain isn’t due for an hour, I kayak. It’s never a leisurely paddle. It’s my high cardio workout. Channeling my inner and ancient Viking blood, I paddle with steady determination to get across my North Sea. Of course, mine is quite shallow for the most part, mild water, and there’s no raiding to be done at the far side. Just turn around and paddle back as hard as before.

Often, I exult my thanks again. I laugh at myself. Out loud. I think about all that I thought I could accomplish to be somebody and compare it to this time of life. Frankly, it’s no comparison. I have almost everything I’ve ever really wanted for myself. I certainly have everything I need. That’s everything which is distinctly separated from being a widower.

Residual grieving keeps a room in my mind with a door to my heart. Grieving stays in there for the most part. Gratitude has opened a suite of new rooms, many mansions, and is building more. God has multiplied my heart’s ability to love. All loves – agape, philos, storge, and eros. The gratitude is so great!

That’s why my joy mocks my old, personal pride. I really wanted to do different ‘stuff’ (I know that’s an inelegant description of aspiring dreams). I would never be as happy doing any of those things that I thought I could or wanted to do. Seriously. Doing what I wanted would be far less than doing what I needed. My needs brought me greater contentment and joy than my wants ever could have. So, I believe.

Finally, I don’t think my joy is the reconciliation of cognitive dissonance. I’m not making chicken salad out of chicken s—. I believe this time of life is an unearned, undeserved gift. It’s daily – throughout the day. It’s living day to day.

I got to enjoy this summer as it unfolded day by day. It was good days of praise, thanksgiving, gratitude, giving and getting lovingkindness, family, family, family, building relationship, work and rest, reading and writing, thinking and learning, hierarchy of duties and plenty of personal play, seasonal delights to the senses, good sweating, laughter and music, binge watching and sunset sitting, welcomed visits, funeral farewells, church family community and worship – the joy that knows no bounds and the peace beyond understanding. A very good summer, this summer of 19.

May I add, that I enjoy the heat?  I’m a Southerner who grew up without air conditioning.  I appreciate this modern fandangle on the brutal days of super oppressive heat.  But, keep my home a/c set at a balmy 79 f, unless company is coming.   I love the hot, humid air.  It’s called “summer.’

At the end of every day at Sanctuary, I step out on the deck and thank God for the day. No matter what. This summer was a special praise to just live it.

Grandchildren compatible

Papa on the water. Pursuing the gift given in these days – to exercise in the glory of God’s created nature.


  1. Be blest my friend in this glorious place.

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