Postcards from Summer Vacation

By Hal Walter

It was perhaps fitting that the first real day of school coincided with the solar eclipse. For like the eclipse, it’s difficult to imagine such an event will happen until it actually does, and you don’t want to stare at the date on the calendar too hard lest it burn a hole in your eyes.

Over the past three months I’ve joked with friends that I feel a little like I’ve been running a summer camp for two kids, and I’m one of them, and on the other hand I feel a little like I’ve been running a mental asylum for two inmates … and I’m one of them.

Being the main caregiver for a teen boy on the autism spectrum here in rural Central Colorado is no light duty in summertime. The job is difficult and the hours are long. The opportunity for respite is scarce.

With school letting out in late May, you’re the director of activities and safety officer for 12 weeks until school starts back up. You’re also the chief of chores and the disciplinarian for someone who needs only slightly less parental supervision than the president.

By the way, people still expect you to do your real job. You know, those little tasks you do to make money. For me, that’s mostly editing and some writing, both of which require a certain amount of uninterrupted quiet time and focus.

It’s been said that one must make the best with what they have. In our favor we live out in the Wet Mountains with access to a trail system on a big ranch. I like being outside and teaching my son about the outdoors. This summer we also focused on archery as I am big on developing what writer Thomas McGuane called “high specific skills.”

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