Yesterday was the first day of Fall, the Autumnal Equinox. And for myself and hundreds of other people who knew and loved a remarkable man named Kolajo Afolabi, yesterday was also a fall from innocence into deep grief as our dear, dear friend fell while running and passed away from the resulting injuries.
To celebrate our friend’s life, a life of warmth, contribution, love, and joy, I invite you to gaze at these photos of New England summer, and to ask yourself: “Why is the New England summer so precious?”
2011 was a summer I almost didn’t notice if it hadn’t been for another friend.
This whole July, my friend Meg who was visiting from California was trying to get me to slow down and enjoy the wonder of New England in summer. Meg and our friend Emma dragged me to the beach in Rhode Island and to the Folk Festival in Newport, took us into the icily refreshing sapphire-colored ocean, and sat us on creaking beach chairs to hear the guitars and singing in the steamy Newport air. We slurped Dell’s iced Lemonade and felt the warm sand under our beach towels.
But I was so busy, working full time for a web start-up company, and gearing up for travel to China! It was painfully hard to relax and actually enjoy the amazingness that is loving friendship, and New England in summer. The sun was burning hot, and piles of work emails were accumulating in my Inbox, far from the beach and music.
Looking back at these New England Summer 2011 photos, so bursting with life, humanity, and natural beauty, I am deeply thankful to my friend Meg for helping us see it.
Tomorrow, my beloved friend Marleny and I will travel to Rhode Island for Kolajo’s memorial service. Hundreds and hundreds of people who also loved our friend will be there, and we will cry, support each other, and remember.
The New England summer is so precious because of how brief and alive it is.
May we always appreciate it, while it is here.
The author, Lillie Marshall, is a 6-foot-tall National Board Certified Teacher of English, fitness fan, and mother of two who has been a public school educator since 2003. She launched Around the World “L” Travel and Life Blog in 2009, and over 4.2 million readers have now visited this site. Lillie also runs TeachingTraveling.com and DrawingsOf.com. Subscribe to her monthly newsletter, and follow @WorldLillie on social media!
Saturday 21st of January 2012
It's funny how I know other places better than where I am right now.
Friday 2nd of December 2011
I could stay at the beach as long as 6-7 hours if you give me glasses, music, a chair, and food. The beach is a beautiful place, but with all those people would be uncomfortable, I would not like all that body heat and sweat. Also the last picture was beautiful; the color of the lake is amazing.
Sunday 16th of October 2011
Wow! I think New England in the summer is an amazing place to go to. I thought it was really funny how all those people were mushed together on the beach. If it was me i would be there 24-7 because of the music and the sun.
John D. Wilson
Sunday 25th of September 2011
Good post Lillie, It is the curse of the American lifestyle not to notice the beauty of what is right in front of you. The "get ahead", do all this "stuff" mentality of America is one of many drawbacks. Slow down and smell the roses is a saying that has been around for years - and there is a reason for that. Balance must is desired for me - I am not interested anymore about "getting ahead', how to increase the size of my stuff. In America, the government is doing many things that are against the individual - now is the time to do more with less, diversify income and enjoy your surroundings. A paradigm shift - location independence and doing more with less is the key. Always try and find the beauty of where you are at - it is there for you to discover. Play nice and travel safely. Cheers, John D. Wilson
Sunday 25th of September 2011
Thanks for this post. We are currently in a restored farmhouse 20 minutes outside of Yanshsuo, China, and my longing for the New England summer/fall had just started in. It's my favorite time of year there (we lived in Boston for 8 years, and relocated to Berkeley on our way to a 6 month long trip in Asia). September/October are my absolute favorite there...and so sorry to hear about your friend!