Stangl

I hope you had an enjoyable Memorial Day weekend.

I must admit it snuck up on me this year. I knew on some level it was coming, but between the polar vortex early in the month and figuring out every day life, it sort of knocked me for a loop.

And by the way, the words “polar vortex” shouldn’t be legally allowed to be uttered after January, in my opinion.

But after the weather seemed to get itself sorted last week, a wonderful thing happened: I was able to spend time outdoors without a sweatshirt. I have to tell you, it was pretty, pretty great.

I know we are all hard wired to spend time outdoors and May is about the time it shouldn’t be a struggle to do so. It seems like a switch gets flipped sometime in the month and the trees leaf out, birds sing, flowers bloom and we seem to be safely on our way to summer.

Each year, the timetable is a bit different, but more often than not by Memorial Day it is all safely done.

I really enjoy using my little gas grill and cooking meat as many nights as possible during these magical days. I think it’s a primal thing as well (man make fire, man cook meat), but there are few things more relaxing than sitting in the shade, listening to the birds and working on getting a burger done just right. It needs to be done enough to be eaten, but not overdone so it is a dry hockey puck.

There is a sense of Zen for me as I can turn off the cares of the day and focus on the smells of the grill and try to catch a glimpse of the birds singing in the trees.

Let’s face it, with what we have all been through this spring, we deserve to be able to unwind (responsibly and socially distant) and spending time outside can be the perfect prescription. Working in the yard gives us exercise and purpose, but if I’m looking for a stress break, let me grill some chicken or steak.

I know I can escape with my mind in many different ways. I can read a novel, watch a movie, listen to music or have a conversation with a loved one. It’s easy to do any of these things, but the sensory feel of the shade and a cool breeze can be truly magical.

As an added bonus, I get to enjoy a really good piece of meat with a couple of side dishes when I’m done.

With uncertainty being the buzzword of our times, I find solace in the refuge of my backyard. Is it a bit naïve? Probably. Have I been a bit thick for taking it all for granted? Absolutely.

By my crude count we have less than 120 days until the calendar tells us it’s time for fall. I think I’m going to do my best to enjoy as much time as possible in the backyard. It’s my new wellness and mental health program.

I just hope I’m able to afford the meat to grill in the coming months.

Oh well, a hot dog will be just as sweet and I can still hear the birds.

Make some sanctuary time for yourself this summer.

As always, I welcome your comments. You can reach me by email at tstangl@theameryfreepress.com, telephone 715-268-8101 or write me at P.O. Box 424, Amery, WI, 54001.

Thanks for reading I’ll keep in touch. Feel free to do the same.