I love summer. This podcast is a reflection on that one perfect moment and the importance of being present.
S1 E2 Transcript (with Minor Variations)
I love summer.
I’m from Wisconsin, so maybe it’s the novelty of it every year. There’s an old joke that goes: Wisconsin has all four seasons: Almost Winter, Winter, Still Winter and Road Construction. The hot months (all three of them) always go too fast.
Loving summer doesn’t mean I won’t complain about the heat. If it’s 85 and muggy (and if it’s 85 degrees Fahrenheit you know it’s going to be muggy) I’ll have a few choice words to say about the weather. If you consider 85 to be pleasant, balmy summer temperature…remind me to visit you only in the spring.
My favorite summer weekend, every year, is the 4th of July. My parents live near water and it feels like that weekend always brings together the perfect mix of temperatures. The air is hot. Baking hot. The sun is so bold and breathlessly bright that the organic vitamin D is just pouring in there. You probably get a thousand percent in just 10 minutes.
It’s hot. Sometimes you might even call it nasty hot, except for the water. By July it’s lost that ice-melt bite of May and June but it’s still sharp and cold. Going down into the water is instant relief from the heat. In a moment, you go from baking into the cold and it feels so good. You can dive into the depth and it’s cool and still and weightless like the very best dreams before something momentous happens.
And then it happens. Your lungs ache and your eyes raised and you see the sun through the water and swim to it, a dive in reverse, no longer fighting the buoyancy of the water pulling you upwards. And then you break the surface.
Don’t get me wrong: you can swim a lot of the year in Wisconsin, but late August is mucky with all these unnerving little green things, and September through May is really only appropriate for human polar bears (in my opinion). On that perfect weekend when you break the surface of that cold cold water into the hot hot air you feel enfolded, like a heated blanket in the heart of winter. Like a cup of hot chocolate when your hands are chills. It warms you instantly all the way down to the bones and you think “This is perfect.”
I was high-school aged the first time I had that thought on the 4th of July. I was swimming and there was one moment where I felt profoundly present in the water, in the air, in the family that had gathered for the holiday. I thought “this is a perfect moment” and I felt it down to my bones. Now every year around the 4th of July, I remember that moment and every year it’s true once again, like the memory itself has echoed through time to bring me back to that perfect place.
I don’t know about you, but I can get stuck in my head. The past and the future can freak me out in different ways that ultimately come down to control. For the Past, it’s all the things I can’t fix and all the things that have happened that I don’t know are coming. For the Future, it’s the vastness of it and the illusion that anyone can control more than a very small portion of it. It’s the Present where happiness is. You can work toward it in the future or remember it in the past, but in reality you only really feel it right here and right now. I don’t know what your perfect moment looks like, but I would encourage you to go there right now. Live, for a few breaths, completely in the present, whatever present you want, and let there be happiness there.
Summer is coming to a close. The lazy and irregular days of long vacations, road trips, and drinking mimosas on the patio are gone or beginning to fade in favor of school and work and winter and all the responsibilities of living our normal lives. I, for one, intend to embrace these last hot days, these last cold waters, and take a few hours to be truly present in summer, just a little while longer. Wherever you are, wherever your moment is, thank you for listening.
*As of writing, Known As Belén is available on the following podcasting platforms: Spotify, Anchor, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Pocket Casts, RadioPublic, Stitcher, and Amazon Music (please let me know if this one doesn’t work), , If more platforms are added, that will be reflected in future post updates.