Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Summer Solstice

     On this eve of the summer solstice, we have been soaking up all that is pleasant about summer time. The length of daylight hours delights us, especially in the evenings. There is still enough light at 9:00 PM to walk outside. We wait until the sun has gone down behind the trees, after the heat of the day has passed and the air is pleasantly cooler. Henri is especially happy to come along after lying around all day.
     The clouds and sunsets have been beautiful lately. I am once again assured that I dream in color because last night I dreamed I saw a beautiful sunset at the far end of a long road in front of me. The clouds were purple and dark blue and they formed a tunnel view of a spectacular bright orange and yellow sunset at the center. In the dream we were walking to a horseback riding lesson for Audrey and we were walking toward this sunset. It was a place that is unfamiliar to me. I have no idea if the dream means anything at all but, it was very pretty.
     We enjoy this land in every season, but we interact with it much more in the summer, on nights like this, savoring every last drop of daylight.
    
Eight o'clock in the evening.

Deer and rabbits aplenty : )
    
Sunset near Switzer Mountain



Monday, June 12, 2017

Summertime Daydreaming

     Ahh, the perennial sounds of a summer morning. Windows open, birds singing, the faint sound of a June breeze, and perhaps a lawnmower far off somewhere. Even with eyes closed, you can feel what lies ahead today. These are timeless sounds that bring to mind our family kitchen on a June morning in 1967. My mother sets a cut up cantaloupe melon on the breakfast table. The pool filter hums outside the back door and the day contains endless possibilities for a child of eight.
     Summer evening sounds are different, more subdued. There might still be the distant sound of a lawnmower, but it carries differently in the evening air. The birdsong is different, too. The day is done, dinner is put away, and the faint light of dusk has only just settled at nine o'clock. The fireflies are blinking on the grass and perhaps I should get a jar, but I hate to step away to go inside and find one. Lazy, that's what I am and that's what these days should be.
     I have purposed to allow myself an empty calendar of business for this first week of vacation. Too many things will crowd it soon enough. I've allowed the dust to settle on the furniture and barely kept up with the laundry. Instead, I've happily hooked rugs, gone out to an antique shop, watched a movie smack dab in the middle of the afternoon, read a book or two, and lazily watered the garden. I walked up the hill to visit Mrs. Cahoon and I spent a pleasant Thursday with Audrey here for a visit.
    She and I took a walk up the dirt road and onto a cart track through the Cahoon's field to see where they're logging in the woods. We've been hearing the sound of mighty trees falling and chainsaws working all day long. We see the tractor trailers with the huge logs rumbling out from the road behind us. Audrey is sad to see the woods are gone. She used to ride her horse back here and she recalls the time when she startled a wild turkey with a flock of chicks. She was thrown from her horse and the chicks scrambled up and all over her. It is a fond memory and she smiles when she tells it. She shows me one stump that might have been one hundred years old. It's quite an ugly scene today. The land looks devastated and barren. We don't know if this will be planted anew or left to seed over in scrub. Eventually, in forty or fifty years, it may be shaded and pretty again. We walk back home, noting the flattened grass where the deer bed down at night and the turkey droppings on the path. : )
     The temperatures are rising and so is the humidity. It means we will close the windows for a spell, turn on the AC, and put a barrier between the inside and the outside. I hate to do it, but I hate the humidity even more. I'll spend the mornings and evenings outside and maybe read on the porch a little bit in between. Steve will sit out on the porch very late into the evening, listening to the sounds of a summer night.. Last night he came in and described to me a sound he heard. I guessed perhaps it was a fox. We may never know but, we'll try and listen for it again.



    
    

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

While Mommy and Daddy Were Away...

     After I got home from New Hampshire I marathoned through the final two days of school. Elementary children on the last two days of school are what I would call "controlled chaos". The staff made it a fun end to a productive year. Three days after that, Claire and Daniel traveled to Iceland for a long awaited vacation and we cared for our three grandchildren at our house for eight days. I do not recall being that exhausted at the end of each day in a very long time. (With the exception of chasing Hugo for the week in NH) Children have a lot of energy! I planned things I thought they would like to do without going out in the car much. We have a nice place in the country and, in my opinion, that's the best imaginative playground a child can have. In one paragraph, here's what the week included:
     Afternoons in the kiddie pool, evenings in the shade on the swing, walks through the field, bubbles, dolls and trucks, rock collecting, Play-Doh, drawing, quiet time movies, running through the sprinkler and squirting Pop and everything in sight with squirters, rides in the lawnmower cart, watching the hay get cut and bailed, hauling toys out to the water and back in again, popsicles, dandelions and band-aids, playing billiards without the sticks, coasting down the hill in Cozy Coupe and wagon, digging for worms and finding 'Wormy', counting pennies, books at bedtime and in between, hot dogs and Jello, many, many potty breaks, climbing up to the tree fort, blowing bubbles, walking Henri, a couple of trips to the grocery store, the Troutville Town Park and two trips to the doctor and pharmacy. (Matthew had pneumonia. We'll include naps, medicine, and cuddles here.) An overnight play date for two of the three children at their cousins', blanket forts, a long forgotten bin of stuffed animals found in the basement, Thomas the Train, Legos, toy cars, and plastic animals. What fun! Whew!