Lazy summer days provide great opportunity to reconnect

This column was originally published as part of my “Looking Homeward” series at

It’s here.

Summer with its change of pace has blown in with heated breath, disrupting schedules, demanding change and maybe — just maybe — renewing our energies with new perspective.

Wondering what summer would do to me, I started thinking what I could do to summer. As I rummaged through my father’s writings, I discovered notes about a special book of poetry.

“Somewhere in the early pages of the book,” he wrote, “I stopped reading the poetry because the poetry started reading me.”

And here’s the “stopper”:

Around the corner I have a friend,
In this great city that has no end;
Yet the days go by, and weeks rush on,
And before I know it, a year is gone.
And I never see my old friends face,
For Life is a swift and terrible pace,

He knows I like him just as well
As in the days when I rang his bell
And he rang mine. We were younger then,
And now we are busy, tired men;
Tired of playing a foolish game,
Tired of trying to make a name.

“Tomorrow,” I say, “I will call on Jim,
Just to show that I’m thinking of him.”

But tomorrow comes—and tomorrow goes.
And distance between us grows and grows
Around the corner!—yet miles away…
“Here’s a telegram, sir…”

“Jim died today.”

And that’s what we get and deserve in the end;
Around the corner, a vanished friend.

Charles Hanson Townes caught my father’s attention with this stimulating yet indicting bit of poetry. That haunting but helpful rhythm vibrates the soul, begging for action. And we find ourselves in the midst of lazy summer days–a great time to rethink our patterns and make time for special people in our lives.

The longer days invite the leisure of pot-luck dinners and cook outs — the perfect place to reconnect. Technology is a new-found helper. Emailing invitations streamlines the party preparation process. An attached digital photo encourages conversations beyond the RSVP. And it’s easier than ever to be inspired by the energy of nonstop cooking shows, Internet menus and online party ideas.

But first, it takes a plan. As one of my Southern girlfriends likes to say, “Dinner just doesn’t fall on the table.”

And neither do friendships.

Although we may start friendships in spontaneous ways, sustaining friendships takes some effort. Often, it takes both creative thinking and planning to keep a relationship alive. And the busier we become, the easier it is to let our friendships fade.

“There is more to life than increasing its speed,” Gandhi reminds us.

Summer may be the perfect time to slow down and recalibrate our focus. Faded friendships are easily renewed with one phone call, a thoughtful email or a cup of coffee. And both old and new friendships await that quick invite to a pot luck or cook out.

So what will we do with our corner of summer?

Good times are only one invitation away.