Emily Articulated: Mid-August

By Emily Erickson
Reader Columnist

Now that it’s mid-August, it feels like summer has shifted just slightly, like it recognizes impending autumn on the horizon, while not quite letting go of the intensity of its burning. 

This shift is in the crispness of the deep nights or the slightly delayed way in which it reaches peak temperatures in the afternoon. It’s in the subtly sleepier sun and a general feeling in the air that signals it’s not the same summer as it was in mid-July — its gentle whisper carried on the wind breathing, “Not yet, but soon,” to fall.

I feel connected to the disposition of a mid-August summer; one that’s informed in equal parts by its past and its future — not so disconnected from who I used to be, but also not the same person I always was. I think phases of life are often this way: a mashup of nostalgia and path-forging; of remembering and imagining. I mean this, not in relation to a specific age or the “four seasons of life,” (I know plenty of 18-year-olds going on 40, and plenty of 40-year-olds stuck at 18) but as a reflection on the many changes to the sense of self people experience across a lifetime. 

Emily Erickson.

For me, the last decade felt like peak summer — vivid and volatile, burning and intense in every experience. I navigated my world in a blaze of quick and life-altering decisions, in fleeting relationships, in trying on and discarding careers, cities and identities, and in squeezing as much life as possible into every hour of every day.

Now, it seems like I’ve slipped into mid-August, still burning for the intensity of new experiences, but more conscious of when, how and on whom I spend my energy. I no longer want to pack as much as possible into my every day, reveling instead in the balance of quality experiences alongside stillness and rest. I crave depth in my connections, sturdy relationships built as much on sharing the mundane aspects of life as the fleetingly bright and extraordinary ones. And I’ve shed the need to blazingly broadcast my beliefs, no longer wearing stances like articles of clothing, ensuring they’re the first thing people know about me — preferring instead to be defined by my actions and in the unflashy consistency of how I treat the people and the world around me.

Despite this sense of shifting toward a new season, there are a few aspects of myself that I hope to carry throughout all phases of life. Akin to a ship being rebuilt one board at a time, simultaneously changing while also preserving its original essence, I want to always maintain my empathetic spirit, regardless of where and what I am. Navigating life by striving for understanding and emotionally connecting with the experiences of others has led and will always lead to witnessing and participating in the most beautiful parts of our shared humanity. 

I hope to always remain curious, perpetually excited by — and not skeptical of — unknown things. Being certain there is always more to learn has been a cornerstone for discovery and personal growth throughout my life, and I want to never shy away from the pleasure and humility that comes with being a beginner at something new.

Finally, I hope to maintain a clear perspective, keeping a tight grip on the things I know to matter most, while holding everything else — possessions, opinions, tastes and fears — loosely. I never want to let security transition into rigidity, understanding there are some things to be firm in, yet so many more things to allow to be malleable.

And as this mid-August summer continues its trajectory toward fall, I hope to follow it, allowing myself to revel in the transition — one cool evening and burning hot afternoon at a time.

Emily Erickson is a writer and business owner with an affinity for black coffee and playing in the mountains. Connect with her online at www.bigbluehat.studio.

While we have you ...

... if you appreciate that access to the news, opinion, humor, entertainment and cultural reporting in the Sandpoint Reader is freely available in our print newspaper as well as here on our website, we have a favor to ask. The Reader is locally owned and free of the large corporate, big-money influence that affects so much of the media today. We're supported entirely by our valued advertisers and readers. We're committed to continued free access to our paper and our website here with NO PAYWALL - period. But of course, it does cost money to produce the Reader. If you're a reader who appreciates the value of an independent, local news source, we hope you'll consider a voluntary contribution. You can help support the Reader for as little as $1.

You can contribute at either Paypal or Patreon.

Contribute at Patreon Contribute at Paypal

You may also like...

Close [x]

Want to support independent local journalism?

The Sandpoint Reader is our town's local, independent weekly newspaper. "Independent" means that the Reader is locally owned, in a partnership between Publisher Ben Olson and Keokee Co. Publishing, the media company owned by Chris Bessler that also publishes Sandpoint Magazine and Sandpoint Online. Sandpoint Reader LLC is a completely independent business unit; no big newspaper group or corporate conglomerate or billionaire owner dictates our editorial policy. And we want the news, opinion and lifestyle stories we report to be freely available to all interested readers - so unlike many other newspapers and media websites, we have NO PAYWALL on our website. The Reader relies wholly on the support of our valued advertisers, as well as readers who voluntarily contribute. Want to ensure that local, independent journalism survives in our town? You can help support the Reader for as little as $1.