Julie’s pond in the morning light. Photo: Julie Messervy
For the first time since my kids were little, I decided to go on “summer hours” this year. To better enjoy this brief Vermont season, made even shorter by the incessant rain throughout June and July, I’ve been sending staff (and taking myself) home–at 3 PM every day.
It’s the best decision I’ve made in years. For now, rather than sitting in a sweltering office from morning until evening, I’m taking some breathing room away from it. Instead, for part of each day, I swim in our pond, work in the ever-growing vegetable garden, pick and put-up fresh peach preserves and cucumber pickles, play tennis with Steve—I’ve actually learned how to do something other than work.
The vegetable garden and back yard. Photo: Julie Messervy
And thanks to our summer hours, I’ve shed some pounds from being so active every day; my tennis is much improved; and thanks to all the hard work in the gardens, my own “home outside” looks better and better every day. More good news from a quieter life—I’ve made up (and given) a new lecture on creativity and have finally started writing my spatial archetypes book at last; something I’ve been wanting to do since I dreamed up the theory twenty years ago. Amazing how a little free time can open up so much room for creativity.
At the office, my new assistant Val and I have used this summer to keep us connected to the world beyond Vermont. We’re just completing a book on the Toronto Music Garden (coming out this fall), finalizing the details of our new online Home Outside Design service, and readying the first three workshop videos for launching on the blog. And next week, construction starts on an exciting project that I’ll cover in an upcoming post. Even with a shortened workday, we have still accomplished a lot this summer.
The path to the swimming pond. Photo: Julie Messervy
Understandably, summer hours may not be an option for every person or business, but if you do have the chance to make a summer schedule, it’s a great opportunity to move with the season, to nurture mind and body, explore creative interests, or just take a breather and go at a slower pace.