Syd Says: July 2023

  • Post Author
    by Talk
  • Post Date
    Sat Jul 22 2023

The year is halfway over, and summer is in full swing. With extra time in my days to reminisce on the past year and prepare for the upcoming school year, I found myself searching for little summer activities to add to my schedule. I search for the unplugged, nature-connected version of summer. With this in mind, I decided to bring back the Talk Blog, now revamped as Syd Says, an opportunity for WSUM members and the community to submit responses to one or two prompts each month. See the responses below, and possibly find your answer to them, too. 

— Sarah Kirsch, Talk Director

What is the best summer activity? 

I think my favorite summer activity has to be the feeling of a long summer day (the totality of it all) rather than a specific activity itself. You know when you're a kid and go on a family vacation and end up walking way more than you are used to? And you haven't slept properly because you were giddy about the flight? So, at night, when your head touches that squishy hotel pillow and that bed that swallows your body whole — you don't drift, but fall, into a dreamless sleep? That's my favorite feeling. A feeling I have recently tied to Summer. When the days are long and the air is hot, when you're walking just about everywhere — concerts, farmer's markets, internships ,when whatever you are drinking (water, lemonade, a mojito) is never enough to fully hydrate you — a long summer day creates that deep sort of sleep. And a day full of great people rids the need to dream of more. 

— Ria Dhingra

The summer heat opens up all sorts of outdoor activities. Lounging around a beach, floating down a river or more strenuous things like hiking and kayaking are all good fun. The absolute best summer activity is none of those things but instead what follows. I can't think of anything better than returning home from a busy day of being outdoors than grilling out and melting into a super comfy seat. Once you're there, you've got options. Read a book, enjoy a cold beverage, listen to some music, reflect on the day you just had. That's why relaxing after a long summer day is the best. 

— Max Kappel

If there's one thing about me, it's that I absolutely do not shut up about my hometown of Sheboygan, Wisconsin. I think this summer already I've gone to visit just about every other week. Dubbed the Malibu of the Midwest, Sheboygan is a beach town oasis in the middle of an endless sprawl of midwest prairie. During my day trips I find myself hitting the same points: coffee and lunch at one of the three cafe's I frequented in my teens, watching the waves from the shoreline and walking around all of my favorite local businesses. I usually bring a gaggle of friends from Madison to join in on the festivities and seeing them have a blast makes my heart feel so full!

— Camila Trimberger-Ruiz

My favorite part about summer is going on walks on the beautiful trails and other nature spots Wisconsin has to offer. Going on these walks gets me outside, gets me moving and improves my mental health, as can happen to anyone. Many places I've visited, especially those that entail climbing, are shady, so I can be outside for long periods of time without getting too hot. I moved to Wisconsin in June of 2020 so in those days, taking walks outdoors was one of the few safe activities. I'm thrilled to be taking this enjoyment of mine to a weekly news feature I'm producing this summer for WORT-FM called Trail Tuesday. 

— Reid Kamhi

The best summer activity is taking time to enjoy public land. It goes without saying that nature offers endless surprises, things to look at and details to inspect. Identifying plants, birds, bugs, geographic features and other things and their interactions with each other is a nearly boundless area of study and fascination.

Beyond that obvious observation, the concept of public land is a relic of a fading ethic which used to influence public policy in this part of the world. Newly set aside tracts of land for public use is less common than the selling or parceling off of unoccupied acres and certainly less celebrated by the moneyed organizations which facilitate popular media and politicians. These dots of green we see on our digitized maps are endangered pieces of treasure that are buried beneath concrete and asphalt daily.

Visiting public land is like stepping into a time machine that transports one to various time periods all at once: ones that valued publicly accessible goods, ones that allowed free movement of nature and ones that encouraged peaceful interaction between people and the land they inhabit. One can visit in winter, too, but summer brings these lands to life in fantastic ways.

— Erik Pfantz

What have you learned or enjoyed about the first half of 2023? 

The past six months have been centered around finding my people and creating pure, good energy around me. It's no secret that college can be a trying time to find a good group of friends and feel like you're in the right place — if you're like me, it may take even a few semesters. I was ecstatic to come back to campus after winter break and see all my friends. I started classes for my major. I met new people that made me feel so loved and seen. You often hear that the people around you will shape your mood and the energy around you, but I never really realized it until I saw it in front of me. Impulsively leaving your place at 11:30 p.m. to meet up with your friend and search for the Northern Lights. Eating lunch in silence with each other, headphones almost completely covering your ears. Listening to a new CD together. 

It's all about those little, simple living moments in life that make me grateful for choosing the path I did. While I often reflect on the “what could've been”s, I ground myself in a book I'm reading, seeing my friends as much as I can and attempting to learn to let go of the past. Not necessarily looking forward to the future but deciding to be present in my life. I have enjoyed the people around me like never before, and I'm hopeful for our future “little moments” together. 

— Sarah Kirsch

I've never been someone who reflects on how I've changed through the calendar year. Normally I try to compare and contrast from different phases of my life (when I lived by the beach, when I went to Catholic school, when I was really into Dan and Phil, et cetera), however when the year began, both me and my diary felt a shift incoming. I think moving onto campus as a 2020 freshman and having my first three semesters affected by varying degrees of precaution changed how I tackled the three most recent ones. For the first time in a long time I feel like I can stop and take a breather and say no to things, and I finally have stopped feeling a crushing sense of FOMO if I decide to stay in when I'm tired. Learning to be alone again and set aside large amounts of time for myself was a bit rough at first, but I feel like I did 17-years-old again. Fingers crossed I continue to exist this way as the fall semester. 

— Camila Trimberger-Ruiz

Stay tuned for future Syd Says prompts! If you are a community member looking to get involved with Syd Says, email [email protected].