I woke up yesterday and noticed the sunrise had beaten me to the punch once again – a fairly common occurrence this time of year in a small town.

Early to bed and early to rise may have been a guiding principle for Benjamin Franklin on how to make someone healthy, wealthy and wise, but it is not an objective high on my list of life’s pursuits during this sultry, laid-back time of year.

Typically, we take time out of our normal routines to relax at the lake, visit extended family, attend summer social events or travel to far off places to experience life through a different eye.

These experiences make for far more meaningful summer pursuits than becoming obsessed with chasing a glowing sphere to the punch.

This summer of course is different.

There have been a flock of black swans (unforeseen events) which have roosted themselves in the summer of 2020. Summer plans have been turned upside down for most of us.

This summer has been filled with relentless news coverage about a worldwide health crisis, cultural injustice, economic uncertainty and political divisiveness.

This summer has developed into a season of “summertime blues.”

On the brighter side, it has also developed into a summer where we are once again reminded of how important it is that we watch out for each other. It has developed into a summer where we each have an opportunity to do our part to shift the direction this summer has taken.

You have the power to change the spread of the virus, you have the power to make every person feel appreciated, you have the power to invest economically in our community and you have the power to control our political narrative.

This is life, and life is messy.

So, we can either choose to dwell on what this summer has taken from each of us, or we can do what we can to improve the conditions that led to this year’s summertime blues.

If even after all our efforts to shift the trajectory of this turmoil seem to go unnoticed, if we still have our health, our faith and our family, our future will still be bright. The world will surely be a better place.

Yes, this summer will pass, and together we will turn the page and learn to enjoy our summers again.

Guess what?

I woke up this morning and wouldn’t you know it, sunrise won again.

Oh well, the dog days of summer can have this one too with the understanding that I will soon be winning this race as well.

Fall is just around the corner, and the race goes on.

I wonder if he can take a punch.

– Craig LaBrie is a Redwood Falls native, community leader and founding member of Celebrate Redwood Falls