The other day as I was tidying up the kitchen, I happened to notice the back of the Post Selects Banana Nut Crunch cereal box. ”We should all aspire to live like bananas,” it said. ”They are on a permanent vacation, living in lush, tropical rainforests. From high above, a canopy of trees provides the perfect balance of sun and shade.”
“Live like bananas”–what a concept! My mind certainly feels like it has been on a permanent vacation this summer. As soon as my last Philosophy paper was turned in and my final Psychology exam was over at the beginning of May, my brain has pretty much been on a leave of absence. Since then, I haven’t done anything remotely intellectual.
For the past two months, I’ve fought against my lack of ambition and pummeled myself with guilt. Now that I apparently have more free time to write, the desire is lacking. Why can’t I seem to pull myself out of this ennui? Stacks of unread books sit on my bookshelf and bedside table while my writing output has been a dismal nil.
I think Anne Morrow Lindbergh knew about this kind of lethargy when she said, “The beach is not the place to work; to read, write or think. I should have remembered that from other years. Too warm…for any real mental discipline or sharp flights of spirit. One never learns. Hopefully, one carries…the faded straw bag, lumpy with books, clean paper, long over-due unanswered letters, freshly sharpened pencils, lists, and good intentions. The books remain unread, the pencils break their points, and the pads rest smooth and unblemished as the cloudless sky. No reading, no writing, no thoughs even…the tired body takes over completely. As on shipboard, one descends into a deck-chair apathy. One is forced against one’s mind, against all tidy resolutions, back into the primeval rhythms of the sea-shore…One becomes…bare, open, empty as the beach, erased by today’s tides of all yesterday’s scribblings.”
Yes, I feel the particular beguilement of that deck-chair apathy. In my search for the “perfect balance of sun and shade,” the primeval rhythms of summer have erased all resolution, all hopeless straining, all the good intentions and all mental discipline. I know in two short weeks, that will all change. The empty hours will become all too full again. For now, I’ll live in the moment–like a banana.