Do you remember the WonderWorks film of Ray Bradbury’s short story All Summer in a Day? I saw it when I was 11, and I have never forgot it.
The story’s about a girl who lived on Earth before moving to Venus; whereas Earth enjoyed frequent sunshine, on Venus, it rained constantly, and the sun appeared just for one hour every seven years. If you don’t know the story, I won’t ruin it for you. But, gosh, did it hit me hard.
The concept of all summer in a day sprang to my mind many times last week. I had months ago decided to cancel my annual trip to Ocean City, Maryland, for Ocean City Jeep Week, in favor of sticking close, and hopefully more safely, to home.
I briefly considered an extended self-pity party. But as many of us have learned in the past six months or so, what doesn’t kill us can in fact make us stronger — if we make up our minds to grow stronger.
In that spirit, I aimed for a week’s worth of easy, simple day trips and other low-key, local adventures. I invested in some camping equipment, and my son gave me a camp stove, a sleeping bag, and a camp toilet as an early birthday present.
I spent a delightful day walking on a new-to-me rails-to-trails path with my long-time pal David Griffin. My daughter Sophie and I took a delightful day trip (in her super-fancy, brand-new car!) to the Berkshires, where we spent the day with our hilarious and kind-hearted friend Mallory. I visited with the delightful Peter and Janet Cummings Good, whom I’ve known for decades but only recently reconnected with. (Let me tell you: they get more lovely all the time.) And I was delighted to be invited to test out my camping gear on the lawn of the beautiful beach home of my dearest friend, Elizabeth, and her husband Paul. After a hilarious, relaxing dip in the water with Elizabeth and a delicious dinner of fried whole-belly clams, I slept in my waterfront tent and felt like the luckiest person on earth.
The next morning, I fired up the camp stove and made what might well have been the best cup of coffee I’ve ever had in my life; I sipped it while sitting in my beach chair looking at and listening to the calm and peace of Long Island Sound. Then Paul made us a huge honkin’ breakfast.
It was all, well, delightful.
Honestly, I had the best summer vacation of my life.
But here’s the thing: it wasn’t the destinations. It wasn’t the activities. It wasn’t the food or the water or the sunshine or the breeze.
What made my modest vacation feel like all summer in, well, a week?
My wonderful, awesome, loving, supportive friends.
Next year, who knows? Maybe I’ll go to Ocean City for Jeep Week. Or maybe I’ll choose to hang out here in Connecticut, surrounded by people I love and who clearly care for me.
That sounds like a very good deal to me.
Happy September 1, everyone! We still have Labor Day weekend ahead of us. Let’s make it the best one ever!