These Early Summer Days

The last few mornings have been picture perfect. Calm and bright at sunrise, with birds and squirrels and one little bunny spotted in the dewy yard.

Beams of pure sunlight break and scatter when they hit the trees, whose leaves are fully green and fully extended now.

The sky that begins as a thin blue canopy deepens to full summer. Clean, puffy white clouds skid across the blue in the quickening breeze.

The trees rustle as morning gives way to day. And we busy ourselves with the last week of school, loads and loads of laundry, and watering the garden transplants.

Summer is coming, faster than we imagined it would back in March. It’s still light at 9 PM, and morning follows fast on evening’s heels. I turn the calendar page and marvel.

Another Great Hiking Trip in the Books

My sister and I spent the last four days hiking the gorgeous Manistee River Trail/North Country Trail during peak fall color.

Watch this space over the coming days for pictures, tales of close encounters of the Ursidae kind, freaky night sounds, and more!

On Garrulous Chipmunks, Belligerent Yellow Jackets, and Other Glories of Fall

japmaple02Somehow, it is October. This has really taken me by surprise. Most years, in September, I start getting out to the nature center or on the River Trail to take photos of the early hints of fall color. I get out in my yard and start trimming back spent perennials and vegetable plants. I pull out my warm clothes and closed-toe shoes.

But this September, one of the nicest I can remember weather-wise, was so very, very busy. I don’t quite know why. Perhaps it has to do with our big schedule changes at home with our son in school every day, karate and church stuff three nights a week, Sunday school preparation on Saturdays, research into my next book most nights…the list just seems to go on. Whatever the reason, I didn’t “feel” September this year. I missed it, somehow.

And so it’s October. The chipmunks are constantly chirping, for what reason I cannot tell. We’ve started a quarterly relationship with Terminix to rid our home of the yellow jackets we thought we could trust (who then perniciously invaded the sunroom) and ants and other such things. The bergamont and peonies are coming down with a serious case of powdery mildew. And any remaining tomatoes out there have been thoroughly taste-tested by squirrels, raccoons, and tiny black worms. The honeymoon’s officially over with this year’s garden and it’s time to do some pretty ruthless chopping and bagging.

Our attention is lifted from ground level as we start to notice the trees flirting with colors that have always been there beneath the chlorophyllic green. We buy the first jugs of apple cider. We start contemplating a nice color drive Up North. We remember to bring our camera with us everywhere just in case the mist and the sun should kiss in the morning over drifts of red sumac leaves. (Yes, some of us still use an actual camera rather than a phone.)

And we hope that we won’t miss October. Because this, the most beautiful of months, only comes once a year.