It’s been 25 years now since we first moved to our present location from the big city. We are connected to two different small towns, just a few miles apart. One we sleep in. One we work in and attend church and it has the school our kids attended. Give me about three minutes I can name the location of every traffic light in both.
But we’ve never established any kind of relationship with anyone who has a swimming pool.
This isn’t a big problem; summer is fairly short here. But there’s something about a hot day that makes you long to be near a body of water, and the Great Lakes don’t really warm up until late July.
On a hot day, I can be heard asking, “How can we know so many people and not know anyone well that has a pool?”
Until last year.
One day, I simply went out on the back deck and decided that instead of fighting the heat I’m going to embrace it. Fortunately, I don’t sunburn easily. For 20 minutes I simply laid in the sun, and then I went inside for a drink of ice water. And then, I took the watering can, filled it to the brim, and went back outside and poured the water over my head.
Tap water here comes out very cold. Most people don’t do the keeping-a-pitcher-in-the-fridge thing because there’s no need. It felt good. It doesn’t cool the body down as much a swim might, but like the label says, you can always, “Rinse. Repeat.”
A swim in a pool is still attractive, but not as great a need. I thought of that yesterday morning while reading this quotation from G. K. Chesterton:
There are two ways to get enough. One is to accumulate more and more. The other is to desire less.
Statistically, most of the people reading this reside in the U.S., where the ‘long hot summer’ is a fact of life. “Hot town, summer in the city, back of my neck gettin’ dirty and gritty.” Maybe you’re wishing someone from the city would come by and open up the fire hydrant. Perhaps you dream of winning a trip to a resort or beach town. Rob Bell told a story about taking a bunch of kids from Grand Rapids to Lake Michigan. Most had never seen the lake even though it was only an hour away and marveled how the body of water seemed to keep going without end.
Possibly the humidity and air quality are making it hard to breathe. Perhaps your property overlooks that of a neighbor who has a pool, and the inequity of it all — plus the fact they’ve never invited you over — just gets you angry.
Just embrace the heat (making sure to limit exposure and use sunscreen.)
Oh, and I just looked in your fridge and you’re out of milk. Head over to the grocery store and take a long, long time to make your purchase. Walk up and down every aisle. It’s not as cooling as a swim, but you might even run into someone else who’s working the same strategy. Maybe the two of you can spend fifteen minutes over a lemonade or a sundae comparing notes. You might even make a friend. Or make a difference.