An Invitation to Summer and an Online Bookclub

Ideas from Anne Morrow Lindbergh's Gift from the Sea

A Perfect Summer Pleasure


Years ago my sister-in-law gave me a piece of profound advice. She said, “This year you need to summer, as a verb.” She told me that before air conditioning was widely available, families along the eastern seaboard would pack up and move to the beach for the summer. The children spent the entire summer building sandcastles, playing in the waves, and tracking sand into the family cottage. The women relaxed into a rhythm very different from their lives filled with responsibilities back home. Since our home is far from the nearest beach, my sister-in-law advised me to spend the summer months lazing in a hammock, reading entertaining novels, and visiting the swimming pool. That summer I followed her wise advice. I have never regretted it. Deep healing came from summering. I have no memory of the specifics on the long list of responsibilities I let slide in order to allow myself to aggressively summer. None of those “important” things matter anymore. Nearly 60 years ago Anne Morrow Lindbergh retreated from her family of 5 children and famous husband for a short time. She escaped to a primitive cottage on an island “ringed about by miles of water, linked by no bridges, no cables, no telephones.” (Gift from the Sea, p. 34) It sounds almost heavenly. During her weeks on the beach Anne thought on paper about her pattern of living, her balance of life, and her relationships. She thought she was doing it for herself and that her struggles were unique. Far from being unique, the beautiful little book she wrote on that beach speaks to questions of the soul today as much as it did 60 years ago.

An Invitation

Most of us have responsibilities, obligations, relationships, and skinny bank accounts that prevent us from going to a beach for 2 weeks all alone. Even if we can’t physically leave our jobs and our families and go to the beach, we can summer in smaller ways. We could make some ice tea, settle into a comfortable chair during a quiet edge of the day, and read Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s Gift from the Sea together. The book is simple and short. The gentle rhythm of her beautiful words echo the rhythm of waves on the shore. How about spending a few minutes with Anne on the beach each week? Then, we can chat about it together using technology Anne couldn’t have imagined. Pick up a copy of Gift from the Sea at the library, bookstore, or here. Each week I will post a few of my thoughts and we will discuss an idea from the book over on my facebook page.  We can share creative ways to summer on a Pinterest board . Even if you aren’t reading the book, come share a bit of your journey and think with us about simplicity, centering, solitude, etc. Will you join in? I’d love to know whether I can pull up a chair for you on my virtual beach! Get a little taste of the book in last week’s post, Sunset, the Waning Moon, and Accepting Change.

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3 Responses to An Invitation to Summer and an Online Bookclub

  1. Naomi June 13, 2014 at 2:08 pm #

    I’m in! Just requested a copy from the library. I like to think of summer as a verb, though I don’t think I’m very good at it!

    • Beth Ratzlaff June 13, 2014 at 2:52 pm #

      Great! I’ve never done an online book club before, but I think it will be fun!


  1. Simplify Life - July 11, 2014

    […] earlier blog posts in this series based on Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s Gift from the Sea click here or here or […]

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