In the shade of the Temple
All I ever wanted.
Had to get away
Meant to be spent alone. . .
— Vacation, The Go-gos
It’s customary for bloggers – especially celebrity bloggers – to apologize for extended periods with no posts, offering up explanations to the effect of work, family life, Masonic obligations, or perhaps computer problems.
Not me. The mundane fact is that I’ve just been too lazy.
Not idly lazy, mind you. It’s just that the summer here in southern New England has been exceptionally nice, and I’ve been enjoying the clemencies of the season. Last year at this time it was 95º in the shade with humidity approaching that of a Roman bath. This year, the evening temperatures in the 70s and the periodic rains have kept my lawn in need of continuous mowing, and I’ve been able to sleep with the windows thrown wide open, obviating the need for the central air-conditioning that ran almost non-stop last year. Accordingly, I’ve spent a lot more time outside, engaged in both home maintenance chores and in the pursuit of healthy exercise.
Yes, exercise. The practice of actually doing something, instead of simply reading about it on Wiki. A job that has kept me increasingly behind a desk for the last 8 or 10 years, coupled with the excellent cooking for which Friendship Lodge is known, has contributed in some ways to cause my own Masonic figure to resemble less the proportions of an Doric column, and more one of the objects that sits atop the pillars at the entrance. While the weather is nice, I’ve been trying to bike between 15 and 30 miles per week, and I’ve been working on various exercises in between. We took a family vacation to the beaches of North Carolina, and I took both my bike and my laptop. I rode over 100 miles in 6 days, and spent a lot of time just web surfing. Some bloggers – especially the celebrity bloggers – might call it “researching future articles.”
Not me. It’s vacation. I’m allowed a bit of goofing off on vacation. That’s what it’s for – a chance to vacate my brain for a bit in order to – hopefully – reorganize and gain some perspective. Those who enjoy socializing all the time, and who revel in the non-stop camaraderie sometimes don’t understand the reasons why others just drop out for a while. When I had realized that I had about 20 articles unfinished, I knew it was time to take a break.
In the Northeast US, lodges typically do not meet in the summer months; some have no meetings at all, some have only specific committee meetings (building, finance, etc.) and a very few have one or two meetings over the summer. I’ve read and heard from some of my brothers who get a bit sad over the summer break, and wish that they could continue to meet with their friends every week, or every other week. I used to feel that way, too, but I remember in my year as WM, I couldn’t wait for June to be over – and with it, the meetings, committees, and visiting. Not, obviously, because I don’t like my brother Masons; it’s just that some of us need some quiet time to recharge.
Masonically speaking, I haven’t been totally vacant, of course. For the sake of gaining some insights and perspective, I did a lot of lurking at the web sites and forums in which I generally don’t get to spend much time. I’ve done a lot of reading over the last few weeks, getting caught up on the Masonic news around the US and UK – and of course, right here in Connecticut. I’ve also been working on a completely new version of the 25 year old Master’s Achievement Award form, which we are hoping to put into service for the end of 2008 or beginning of 2009. I was away when we had our annual Trowel Club picnic, but we’ve got another get-together dinner coming up later this week, and I’ve started to organize the annual Past Master’s Dinner for later in the year.
So I’m hoping that all of you have had a similar opportunity this summer, to recharge, to gain some perspective, and ready to get back to work rested and refreshed in a few more weeks. By then, I know I’ll be looking forward to it.