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I confess I am borrowing the name for this article from a dog store I saw the other day. But it’s a perfect
expression of how I feel, about spending summer between the mountains and the sea, my preferred landscape. I am off leash right now and Siri you need to take a vacation too. I ‘m tired of you telling me where to go. I’m back to letting my intuition and innate directional sense guide me. If I get lost or take the wrong turn, so what? I get to see more, do more, have more challenges, and be unencumbered with to-do lists and have-to-be-somewhere notions. Deadlines begone!

No classes to teach, no papers to grade. The kids down the block are feeling it too. Hiking, biking, scootering, and screeching as they splash in their pools. Summer is picnics, movie nights, barbecues, yard sales, concerts, and unlimited beach reads. A birthday party for a friend on a boat, tickets to the ballet, Shakespeare on the bluffs, farmers markets, a drive up the coast, backyard visits with friends and family.

I’m out of the house, the office, the kitchen, and my comfort zone. The cars whizzing by and those helicopters overhead are as noisy as ever, but somehow everything is more relaxed, more chill. Longer days translate to stretching out whatever I want to do for a longer time with less stress. So, I spent an hour in the bookstore. That’s fine. Unleashed means uncluttering do-ness, those pesky demands we make or are made or are mismanaged or, or, or….

Then it’s back to: Do what you want to do. Do what brings joy. Ignore all those other dos for the moment. All those anxieties, fears, and unrealistic expectations just melt in the summer sun. Just like the ice cream in the cone that somehow landed in my hand as I stroll down the boardwalk and watch the skateboarders do their turns and leaps, unleashed.

There’s time to make connections too. The other day I rejoined a book group I hadn’t paid attention to for years. But now, it's summer, the pandemic is over. Time to renew or be renewed. And voila, I’m a member again of that very tribe. By accepting who we are, everyone we meet with will do likewise. As if there was ever any doubt. It turns out we all stayed away for too long – now we’re back together reading and talking about the books we love. And telling our own stories about our lives, our families, our trips, our dreams.

Change is omnipresent, surrounding us. It pulls us forward, and pushes us back. We know it. We feel it. We read about it. We opine. We construct and deconstruct our shared realities. Connecting with love, sharing our joy, sharing our pain.

I’m unleashed, untethered. Not worried. Having a cucumber cooler by the ocean. Hearing laughter all around me. Knowing that some things never change. Letting the hot sun warm and feed me, my friends, and those around me. Together we are all one.

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