As the moon set I set the alarm for two am, yet by midnight I was still awake. I could not shake the events of the past few days and I could not get this phrase out of my head: “More being, less doing.”
It is no secret that we love our life in the country. We have managed to rebuild a slow home that we have furnished with vintage and mid century pieces and live an intentionally slower life that we fully embrace. We even held off bringing internet into our home for over ten years, fearing that it might inhibit the quality of life we enjoy here. I write about it all the time, the slower pace, the thoughtful lifestyle, paying attention to the little things, making memories, taking the time to smell the…the rebirth of spring, but never had the importance of this lifestyle become clearer to me than this past week.
I attended the memorial service of a friend’s sibling, an extraordinary individual who passed away too soon. Although the situation was tragic, the celebration of his being was stunning and I walked away wishing I had known him in life. His wife’s words resonated in my head as she reflected upon their life together, wishing that there were “more being and less doing”.
So simply stated, it was profound: More being, less doing. Which brings me back to Friday night. Setting the alarm and getting up at 2am would probably have not been a priority two or three years ago. I would have probably set the alarm with good intentions and then shut if off and gone back to sleep. I now know better. Given the finite amount of time we are privileged to be here and how quickly it flutters by, every day & every experience is a gift to be savored. The time spent “being” is why we do all the ”doing” in the first place.
Although I know that inherently, and write as well as talk about it, I often forget to do it. My children remind me of this all the time and to be honest, I am not always the best at practicing what I preach, but I am going to try each and every day as I chant my new mantra: More being, less doing.
So, Irwin and I took a blanket outdoors after 2am and lay under several more as we faced the Northern sky awaiting a five thousand year old event that did not disappoint. We spent over three hours gazing at the meteor shower and the enormity of the heavens; just being, not doing.
Last year, right before Memorial Day, I wrote a post about our flag tradition. Well, with the Fourth of July practically upon us, I thought it would be a good idea to re-share this lovely tradition with all of you.
Our Annual Flag
Our Annual Flag
As we all know, summer is fleeting. Even as we are preparing to begin the celebrations of the season, back to school items and early fall fashions are hitting the shelves and windows of our favorite stores. While this has been going on for quite a long time, it seems that it worsens every year. Irwin and I always joke about it, saying that it is difficult to find summer items in mid-July because stores are filled with Halloween items and sleds, which by the way, is not very far from the truth.
As more of our goods became imports and delivery times increased, retailers had to make earlier commitments to goods and ….well, you know the rest, we are about two and a half steps away from Christmas in July-literally.
So, while that ephemeral summertime window is open, we should take every opportunity to savor the sweet smells and vivid colors of the season, and do all that we can to capture this season’s memories so that they can be enjoyed throughout this year and for years to come.
colors of the season
Our flag tradition allows us to do just that. It began three years ago when:
“our flag, which we had hung from our porch in the country, was ruined in a storm and Irwin and I were unable to find a good quality replacement in time for our upcoming Fourth of July celebration with friends. In a quest to create last minute, patriotic décor, Irwin grabbed a handful of small, cut out, color copies of a beautiful American flag, which we kept in a jar in the kitchen and placed them in planters all over the porch. He then hung one flag on one of the posts as well. Our celebration was a success and even after the holiday ended, and the other paper flags were put away, the flag on the post remained. Irwin suggested that we leave it up there until the following July 4th, as a tribute to our country and as a reminder of the wonderful celebration we had.”
The flag remained there until the following July 4th, when we took it down, noted the names of the guests from the previous year on the back and placed it, once again, in the glass jar on our kitchen shelf. We replaced it with a new flag that already had the current year’s guests’ names on it. And the tradition continued.
This year, we will replace the flag, once again and save the current flag along with its memories for years to come.
While Irwin and I have been trying to capture summertime in a jar since we were little kids by collecting fireflies & caterpillars, our “Capturing of the Flag” is far more humane and longer lasting.
So, while you are preparing for your family celebration this weekend, consider including our version of “Capture the Flag” in your festivities. With best wishes for a happy and safe Fourth of July from our family to yours!