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Floating through summer: Embrace boredom, imagine epic adventures

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Tom Reel/The San Antonio Express-News/AP

(Read caption) A boy jumps out of his tube to get relief from the heat on the Guadalupe River near the First Crossing on June 26, 2012 in San Antonio, Texas.

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Every so often, it’s good to let yourself drift, to just follow the current and see where it takes you; to leave an hour, a morning, a day unplanned; to enter open space and time and invite its effects. The artist Paul Klee spoke of drawing as “taking a line out for a walk.” We can see his art as exploration, inquiry, following a random thought, or drifting — and look what comes of it: something fresh and new.

This is what summer is for.

It’s not always easy to do. I used to call time and space “boredom” when I was a kid, as in “Mom, I’m bored. There’s nothing to do.” Now I long for the chance to say, “There’s nothing to do (i.e. nothing I have to do) … thank goodness.” Boredom has gotten such a bad rap. Kids are so conditioned to think that they must always be doing something, going somewhere, entertained, active. But a little boredom can be a terrific vessel for a good drift, following a line of thoughts and just seeing what pictures appear.

It helps to have a raft in your summer — literally or figuratively. There were countless days when my boyhood gang, bored with the possibilities at home, gathered around Hurley's pond to throw planks together for epic raft voyages along its great grey-green greasy banks. Kids of a certain age have an instinctual urge to mess around on things that float, with mud, and with sticks. Combine the three and you have an empire of imaginary possibilities. We could be Ulysses, Captain Hook, or Viking swashbucklers. Who needs Playstation when you have a raft and a stick?

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