Sunday, July 24, 2016

Savoring Summer

We really have nearly two months of summer remaining, all of August and most of September.  As soon as September rolls around, I get that "back to school feeling" and begin settling comfortably into Autumn.  A friend recently posed a question about making August more "August-y" and so I am posting a little list of ways that I savor the last full month of summer.
  • Listen to the CD Summer by George Winston
  • Reflect on what you love most about the season: Write an acrostic poem for the word August or the word Summer, or an "In August I Am..." poem, such as those we shared here on my blog last summer.

In August,

 I am

a barefoot walking

blackberry picking

meadow singing

sky gazing
wave flowing
early riser.

In August, 

I am


  • Make a list of all of the things you wanted to do this summer, but haven't gotten to yet.  Start checking them off!  
  • Make a list of all of the foods that say "summer" to you and have a backyard BBQ or a picnic with that list as a menu.  What's on it?  Corn on the cob?  Watermelon?  Cucumber salad?
  • It feels summery to me to be planting things.  End of season sales at nurseries are a lot of fun.  Sometimes things are looking a little sad by August, but they can be greatly discounted.  I love to find a bargain on a perennial I've had my eye on and then bring it home, plant it, and lavish it with tender loving care for the rest of the summer.  
  • Learn the "Sun Salutation" Yoga sequence and practice it in your backyard in the cool air of dawn before the heat of the day sets in.  Meditate or read in the shade of a favorite tree.
  • If you live near water, get out and do something "beachy" a few times in August.  Dip your toes in at the lake's edge, or plunge right in!  Go for a fast ride on a small boat, or take float down a lazy river.  Watch the sun set from the shoreline. 
  • Go to a park and swing on the swings, whether you take a child with you or not.
  • Go to a local festival or carnival and ride the ferris wheel at  night.
  • Lie out way past dark at least one night in August and watch the slow dance of the stars overhead.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Sunday Stroll: July in Bloom

I took a long walk in the easy air of the morning.
The world is in bloom,

In the herb garden, elecampane shines like a small sun.
Cone flower (Echinacea)

and oregano bloom

near these beautiful day lilies.

All along the edges of the driveway and garden,
chicory is blooming,
more blue than the sky on this cloudy morning.

Star thistle crops up everywhere.

Double daylilies bloom,

near the milkweed at the end of a fallow garden row.

Even the driveway  is in bloom if you look closely enough.
This little weed, Pineapple Weed, is related to chamomile,
and makes a calming tasty "tea."

Beans are blooming and tiny baby beans have formed.

The Thai Basil is flourishing

and the buckwheat, grown as  cover crop, is beginning to blossom.

These daylilies in the front yard have never bloomed 
 in the four years that we have lived on this farm.  This year, they are thriving.

Where ever you are, whatever the weather, may you bloom and grow.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Wordless Wednesday: Mallards

Where ever you are, whatever the weather, I wish you smooth sailing.

Monday, July 11, 2016

July - In Fine Form

I went outdoors to take a few photographs in the herb garden, 
for an upcoming book project, but I heard the meadow singing.

I walked out past the cultivated garden and into the field beyond,

where milkweed reflected the early evening light.

Self heal nodded gently amid taller gasses, near the edge of the woods.

Stepping through the first thin line of trees,
a faint scent like fine oregano drifted up from the cool earth.

Pale brown butterflies drifted like bits of leaf on a summer wind,
weaving in and out of dead branches and settling only briefly on the trunks of the trees
as I passed through a shadowed glade.

Blue jay feathers

and blue-eyed grass winked at me from the forest floor.

And goldenrod

and clusters of fleabane greeted me 
as I stepped back into the sunshine.

Where ever you are, whatever the weather, I wish you the joy of discovery.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Sunday Stroll: Beach Combing

Up over the dune grass,

to where the lake washes our toes,
with cold water and soft tide.

We will find our treasures there, 
in colored stones,
and beach glass.

The beach glass and colored stones
might be tucked into a pocket,
or left for others who walk these lengths of sand.

We will recognize the serenity 
of the lake at dusk
in the rhythm of our breathing.

Where ever you are, what ever the weather, I wish you serenity.

Saturday, July 09, 2016

July in the North Woods

On this breezy evening in July, 
let's take the trail down to the woods.

Stand for a moment while the sun streams
 through the trees that rise over the cedar swamp.

Hold still and listen for bird song and beating wings.

Here in the woods, 
every bit of earth, 
every tree,
every rock and fallen feather,
tells a story.

In this mossy covered hollow log, a bumble bee makes her cozy home.

She has just landed after a long day of gathering,
of flying through meadows and hilly woodlands.

An old porcupine has lived in this burrow at the base of this gnarly old tree.  
We could knock, but I don't think he likes early evening visitors.

These deer bones tell a sadder tale, but one that is a
 natural part of the forest life cycle.

Even other hikers leave their mark, 
I wonder who left this colorful rock on a stump?

In the high meadow, 
insects with delicate wings
fly above fern and flower,
as the bramble-berries slowly swell.
The berries are green now and plentiful,
and there is satisfaction
 in patiently waiting for them to ripen.

The woods are full of promise.

Where ever you are, whatever the weather, I wish you peace.

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Sparklers: A Nostalgic Recollection

I don't remember going to any big fireworks displays as a child, but I do remember the thrill of holding a snapping, sizzling, sparkler in the mid-summer twilight.  With a little gasp of excitement, I would grab a sparkler lit by an adult.  Even more exciting was trying to light my own from my brother's sparkler before his burned away to nothing.  Grasping the fire-tipped wand, I would write my name on the air, watching the letters blaze and disappear.  

The silence and darkness after all the sparklers were finished seemed like a question to the night. From far away, the stars seemed to ask deeper questions.  Suddenly, the back door light was flipped on and my mom stepped out onto the porch, and the answer to all the questions seemed evident:  This is Home.  These grassy fields, this old brick house, this small earth tumbling through space, and these star-filled expanses of infinity - all of this is Home.

Where ever you are, whatever the weather, I wish you a sense of belonging.