In honour of the Solstice, here’s a little posting about summer.
Science fiction author Robert Heinlein tells a true story about his cat that formed the basis for one of his best books.
He and his wife were living in a big house in Connecticut with their cat. The house had eleven doors – twelve counting the cat’s private door.
Every day, throughout spring and summer, the cat would go out to the yard and play. Mostly he would use his own door but sometimes, just to assert his authority, he would make one of the humans open a regular door for him. Eventually he knew all the doors and where they led and knew how to get people to open each of them. He was having a great summer.
But one day he went out his private door and saw snow on the ground. He came back into the house, visibly upset, and demanded that Heinlein should open another door for him. Again he saw the snow and came back in. Then he systematically badgered Heinlein into opening one door after another – each time seeing the snow and having the same reaction.
Finally Heinlein turned to his wife and said, “What’s up with this cat?”
Mrs. Heinlein studied the situation for a minute and then smiled. “He’s looking for the door into summer.”
I think we each have our own “Door into Summer” that we’re always looking for; a magical door that will take us back to happier times; a door to a place that will once again give us the feeling of love and contentment we might have had to leave behind. But this door might also take us to an unknown or future time when our lives can finally be complete; a time and place in which we can experience love, satisfaction, vitality, and total self-expression.
When we bustle about our regular lives we might forget about that door or think of it as some impossible dream. It’s easy to let ourselves get wrapped up in the cold, hard, so-called reality of life and accept that the long winter ahead is the only world we can ever know.
I think the door into summer is real. And like Heinlein’s cat, we should never give up trying to find it. We can step through this wonderful door whenever we are ready and there experience a life we can love. The trick is to understand what constitutes “summer” for us: to understand what we are actually looking for when we step through that portal into the unknown.
Is the summer we seek just a season of frivolity and play? Or is it something more, something unconnected with physical conditions?
Summer is a time when we have passed through the youthful exuberance of spring and have become mature enough to appreciate a slow, sun filled life of active pursuits of our goals. A time we can see clearly, in the bright sunlight, what our lives can be. Summer is the time when we can prepare ourselves to undertake initiations into an even richer life to come – A life beyond the concern for the uncertainties of mere weather, where we are fully in control of our own actions and destiny.
How do we prepare ourselves for such a life?
First we must think about abandoning the urge to sleep-walk through our days. We must commit to waking up. We must wake up by whatever means we can find. Wake ourselves up and then wake up everyone around us. Only by becoming fully awake and enlightened can we appreciate all that our personal “door into summer” has to offer and experience an everlasting life of fulfillment.
Have a happy Solstice and a summer worth remembering.