The Summer Build

When it’s clear summer has officially dethroned spring to become the sole proprietor of the season, my thoughts immediately turn to tradition. Tradition, as a condition of summer integrity, is crucial as it begets the connections between idleness and frenzy, between new and old, and between intellectual stimulation and lazy creativity. But no matter what the parameters, one thing is consistent from summer to summer — the critical nature of the prefix “re.”

You see, the prefix “re,” borrowed from Latin meaning “again” or even “again and again,” signals the critical cadence of summer, as summer is perhaps the underdog season of tradition itself. As footloose as we imagine ourselves in summer — barefoot and lightly clothed (apologies, San Francisco) — it’s actually replete with rituals as rigorous as the December shopping season. “Re” is affixed to just about every activity, signaling a return to familiarity, a reset, and our revelry in it.

Photo via @wiccked

As I received an email today about SXSW 2010, I’m reminded again of the importance of being invited back, being re-invited. More humbling than being invited to the most interesting barbeque/game/picnic/design conference/etc. is sometimes just being invited back a second, a third, a fourth time. This summer, I’m attending the tenth annual summer barbeque with friends here in New York City (a sentence I may have formerly thought an oxymoron). Re-invitation is the highest form of compliment.

To be part of a tradition, again and again, means we’re building something. Because we are all craftspeople, in this respect, summer is our time. Whether its re-reading the same paperback I’ve read for too many years or taking the same beach trip to the very same place with the very same view, I am building. Re-visiting, re-reading, repeating, re-inviting, and remembering are all forms of prototyping and critical to our craft.

Here’s to another summer of building.