Each year there is a theme. The theme is simply a challenge to myself: stay present with present desire. Because it is so easy to become distracted by newer and ever changing tides -- I can easily ride those tides and never master anything -- and because I spend the year teaching others everything, each summer I become a student of something.
This year I'm practicing contentment. Drawing only from the books I already own, I made a summer list straight from our bookshelves. These works I've collected from used book sales and friends, from Christmas gifts long ago and the books that simply found me at a time when I couldn't make space. This is the reading theme of summer: to give attention to what I have been given.
Interestingly, there is a fiction, a theology, a personal narrative in each month's grouping. Patchett, Salinger, Chevalier. Lewis, Willard, Newbigin, Wright. Sedaris, Lamott, Eliott. Manning and others on my Kindle. Some of these good minds have passed this year and I regret not having read them.
There are others on my plate too, one for my own morning deck time, one for park group, two or three for a new little assignment coming up. Summer's thoughts are full in the richest sense of the word; where I happily fill, fill, fill until it runs over and out of my life into the soil around me.
So, as much as I want to pick up new works like this, or this, or this. I'll be here, content with the wisdom and craft of what has been with me all along.
Bel Canto by Ann Patchett (2001)
The Writing Life by Annie Dillard (1989)
Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris (2000)
The Spirit of the Disciplines by Dallas Willard (1988)
Everyday Justice by Julie Clawson (2009)