Embracing the Flow of Summer

Summer, study; 2014; 18" x 15"; mixed media: pastel, watercolor, acrylic.

Summer, study; 2014; 18″ x 15″; mixed media: pastel, watercolor, acrylic.

Summer, a time for being. A time to let the mind drift with a hot air balloon from upper cloud strata to wispy meadow, to sink into the hazy heat of an afternoon baseball game, to traipse through the laughter of children licking icecream, to watch and wait and listen.

Doing, producing, achieving – companions not easily denied. Like pesky mosquitoes they clamor for my heart. I want somehow to validate my existence, to prove with tangible evidence that I lived each day. To produce something visible beyond satisfied stomachs, clean floors, meandering conversations about friends and dreams.

Madeleine L’Engle writes in her book, Walking on Water, “but BEing time is never wasted time. When we are BEing, not only are we collaborating with chronological time, but we are touching on kairos, and are freed from the normal restrictions of time.”
― Madeleine L’EngleWalking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art

Chronos and kairos are both Greek words for time. Chronos is the word for measurable time. Kairos means an appointed time or opportune moment. Chronos vies for my attention, but at the same time, it warns me that seasons come and go. Never again will my children be this size, in this state of being.

With a son about to take flight into his own world after this next school year, I am hungry for kairos moments. Certainly my soul wearies as I run here and there, and I ache to take up that paintbrush; but chronos also taunts that an end-of-sorts is imminent.

A couple weeks ago, I planned an afternoon to catch up on making appointments, clean those floors,  to accomplish. Then, that morning, my oldest son invited me to go to the zoo.  Laughing at a hippo’s snout, admiring an okapi’s stripes, tripping and dripping through a sudden summer rain – these are the moments that flow into so much more than chronos.

In the cool dark shadows of winter, all these memories of collected living, of grabbing hold of relationship, of Being together, will surely organize into a story. There, I will savor the memories as my children disappear into school halls. I will review each sentence and find the flow, the summation of who they shaped me to become. I will paint, and I will write. But I am certain I won’t regret a single minute of this season.

Here in the summer, my soul expands like a river bed after a heavy storm. I welcome this deluge of being. I am present, melting into the movement of time.

I need the summer.


I find inspiration lurks in every moment. Although time and space for painting this summer is hard to come by, one particular scene spoke to me of the flow I am consciously welcoming. From the original photo, shot from a baseball game, which attracted me by its flow of lines from grass to tree to hillside, I am pressing its contours into a greater sense of flow. I started the final composition, but most likely won’t pursue its completion until after school starts. And I’m very okay with that!

8 thoughts on “Embracing the Flow of Summer

  1. Love that! “Being time is never wasted time.” That is exactly what I need to keep on my mind through these years of little ones dominating my time. I also love how you showed the inspiration photo and progress. 🙂 love you, sweet friend!


  2. Hi Colleen. What wonderful work. Both your painting and writing. I am feeling your connection to the beauty and mystery of time and place. I too have been trying to”touch” these elusive moments in our lives. Trying to sustain them and rediscover their essence. And thank you so much for stopping by. 🙂


  3. I love this post! Would you mind if I showed some of your works to students I am currently teaching here in Peru? The young artists are between 9 and 16 years old and love drawing and painting, but have yet to use watercolour and pastel for the first time. I would really love to show them your images from this post in particular because they clearly illustrate how an artist can be inspired by an image and make it into their own work of art, first doing a sketch and then using layers of colours and details. Plus, the way you mix colours is very beautiful… I am sure they would love the vibrancy of your works.


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