Every day Life
Summer, to me, can be summarized in one word: crickets. Growing up in New Jersey, we’d sit on the porch on a summer evening and listen to the chirping all around us. Fireflies would flitter about, adding a sparkle to the concert.
Sometimes, one would escape into the house, leading to an intense bout of sleuth work to find the tiny, noisy invader. Once found, my sister or I would scoop the wayward visitor into a cup and dump him outside to find his noisy comrades.
When I first moved to Boston, it took me awhile to realize that something was missing. Crickets, apparently, were no match for the hustle of city traffic. And I merrily went about the city life – working long hours, rushing to exercise class, meeting friends for dinner or a movie… crickets faded to the back of my consciousness. Yet when I went on vacation, there they were. And like magic, the easy days of my childhood summer returned.
Here in the suburbs, the crickets are back. Yet now I realize it’s not the sound of the crickets that I crave. It’s the joy of the moments of sitting still, of talking with family and friends on the porch, of just plain reading a book in the quiet outdoors that matter. Getting unplugged for a few precious moments is not just a luxury – it’s necessary.
At dusk one recent evening, I noticed the bats that were starting to come out. I pointed them out to my daughter, who was amazed. We tossed up a few cherry tomatoes, and the bats started to dive towards them. ‘This is better than YouTube’ she proclaimed. Simple pleasures of summer. Produced by nature, not an app.
Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt recently told the Boston University graduation class to “Take an hour a day and turn that thing off. Take your eyes off that screen and look into the eyes of the person you love. Have a conversation, a real conversation.” And, I may add, stop and listen carefully. If you’re lucky, you’ll hear the crickets.