Summering in RI

I’ve always thought summering was a term used to describe a privileged life. Who has the opportunity to “summer” near the ocean?

Yet, we were lucky to be able to do this for most of my life. My great-grandmother built the first house in Shelter Harbor in 1910. Then my grandfather retired from the Army here and built his own house just up the path. My parents retired from the military and he and my mother spent most of their retirement here. This meant, as a teacher, I was able to spend long summers in New England –sailing, going to the beach, and reading on the back porch.

Now David and I are the elders since the others have all died– and we, too, are spending our summer at the old house. So far, our time has been consumed with many projects as the house has been neglected for many years. We do manage to take the boat to the barrier beach and enjoy walking the dog around the neighborhood.

But it is a privilege.

I am trying to focus on how lucky I am and to appreciate the old house which is surrounded by huge trees and borders a salt pond. In retirement, I don’t have to work so I can avoid the Covid virus. I don’t have children to teach or parents to worry about.  We can, if we choose, isolate ourselves almost completely. Yes, we will be fine, unlike so many others.

So what can I do? I can donate money to political causes and people I support (#biden, #blm, #aclu, #Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington #democrats).  I can read and learn. I can send metta kindness to the world. And I can keep myself healthy.

“What separates privilege from entitlement is gratitude.”
Brené Brown

“If you’re a white American, you can’t look away anymore. You have to choose. You can move through necessary pain and heal. Or you can run from the pain and the healing — and create much added misery for everyone, including your descendants and yourself.”
— Resmaa Menakem

There is a fine balance between living a life you have been given and understanding the responsibility that comes with being part of this community of humans.