The trick at this time of the year is to stay cool. Everything is hotting up: the temperature, the pace of life, the energy of the sun rising to the solstice. The moon is swelling into fullness. Christmas is pumping out its demanding energy. The year is winding up and everyone suddenly wants closure. People are frantically racing here and there shopping for Christmas and organising the great exodus of the summer holidays; such stressful conjunctions!

 Staying cool means going out early on Sunday morning to shop. The farmer’s market is an easy place to wander and select fresh produce. I return with all that I need for a stir fry meal. Staying cool means remaining inside during the heat of the day. I rest my hurt rib, make a cup of green tea and bite into a new season’s apricot.

At the end of the afternoon I emerge once more, taking a punnet of blueberries down to the sea. They disappeared so fast that I didn’t think to take a photo. But they were beautiful, with their dusky roundness.  One by one they popped into my mouth as I listened to the lapping waves.

 Then I did my tai chi by the sea, waving hands like clouds, scooping up the sea, flying like a grey goose and smiling at the pohutukawa blossom that has dipped down to greet me.

 Yes, summer is here. It all happened so fast, but here it is and a holiday is calling.

Staying cool means taking things slowly, like packing up the treasure trove of books that I bought last week. What fun it was to spend the book vouchers I won for being short-listed for a major book award.

 Down by the sea I take time to sip poems, one by one, from an exquisite little book called ‘Gleam’ by NZ poet Sarah Broom. Sarah understands the soothing effect of conscious breathing:

I am trying to breathe
like the slow, low purr of a drowsy cat
like the languid sway of an empty swing
like the shiver of a thistle in the wind

Summer is here and soon I will be settling in to the bach, ready to enter the rhythm of the tides, the wood pigeons and the floating stars. Aah. . . the very thought is soothing.