Merry Christmas everyone.
Fall is here in full force (nod to the full moon on the same day as the fall equinox)! While I anxiously await jumping into my first leaf-pile of the year, I thought I’d just give a little recap of some summer highlights.
- Summer began as any well-respecting Wisconsinite might wish: with snow!
- It did a number on my tomato plants, but my harvest is still plentiful. Here’s a look into my bag after a recent harvest from my community garden, and a photo I treasure of my cantaloupe babies. They are definitely adolescents now, but are still in need of the vine.
- Early this summer I was privileged to be present when my sister was called and set-apart as a full-time missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She will spend the next year-and-a-half living on a small northern island in the Philippians, serving the people and teaching them about how the gospel of Jesus Christ can bring added happiness and peace to their lives. Here’s a picture from the last time I saw her, as well as one she just sent home:
- While the summer was still green and lush, I spend as many evening after work as possible roaming through the mountains:
- Here’s a shot from one hike with my friend Kelsey- just days before she took off on a mission to Florida:
- In June, my work flew me out to San Francisco to do some training at the nation’s oldest science museum, the Exploratorium. The PIE (Playful Inventive Exploration) training was hands-down some of the most inspiring education I’ve ever received. More to come shortly on how we’ve been using that training to inspire more innovation and creativity from the middle-schoolers I work with. Here is a picture of me outside the museum, inside the workshop space, and beside some lovely sea lions down on pier 39:
- I flew on an overnight flight from CA to WI to spend a week in the great outdoors with my dear family. Here we all are under uncle Bob’s tarp. The thunderstorms helped us to get extra cozy!
- I spent Independence Day with my brothers, sister-in-law, and nieces at the Bees Stadium. Nothing like thousands of people cuddled on blankets, watching small explosions in the sky:
- I also spent some time exploring natural hotsprings:
- Discovered a new species of maple:
- (kidding about the maple….well maybe. Have you ever heard of a variegated maple?)
- Joined a group of daring souls on a search for the infamous kokanee:
- Saw some sunsets that literally brought me to my knees:
- Traveled through Utah wilderness with dear WI friends and family:
At heart, I am an old woman. I’ve been casted at least three times as an old lady in theatrical productions. I didn’t try out for any of those roles; the directors just saw it in me. I have a knack for spurting folklore-ish wisdom with a rattling voice, and my frail pointyness adds nicely to the illusion. I also dream of being 83 years old. I can much more clearly imagine myself as a grandmother than I can a mother. I think it will be lovely to one day just pretend I am senile… could anyone really do anything more than laugh if an adorable little old lady decided to bathe in the city fountain?? There is a liberty in old age that I do not possess now.
In the past weeks I have developed a nightly ritual to sooth myself to sleep. I curl up in my afghan, don my night cap, and crochet as I listen to a book on tape. I complete this by 10pm every night. I imagine I will do the same thing when I am 83. But, really, it is this book on tape that I wanted to tell you about: Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. I just made my way through the infamous chapter on the battle at Waterloo. “Made my way through” is the best I could muster with this chapter, but I rewound to listen to the concluding lines at least three times:
This is what Waterloo was.
But what matters it to the Infinite? all that tempest, all that cloud, that war, then that peace? All that darkness did not trouble for a moment the light of that immense Eye before which a grub skipping from one blade of grass to another equals the eagle soaring from belfry to belfry on the towers of Notre Dame.
These words give me hope.
A few weeks ago I visited Arches National Park for the first time. I stared in amazement as I watched as the evening sun set fire to the red rocks. Of all the diverse landscapes found in this state, the red rock country seems the most un-earthly to me. I imagine I could pitch a tent on a redrock cliff and live there until I was withered and gray, and still I would feel like a foreigner on its terrain.
One evening I hiked up to see Delicate Arch, the rock formation showcased on Utah license plates. As I watched the sun dance across this famous arch, I smiled at the whispered land-praises coming from the hikers surrounding me. The various accents and languages revealed how far we’d all traveled to meet on that same peak. Although I’d never seen Delicate Arch in person before, it felt over-poweringly familiar. I reasoned this connection I felt with the arch was just a result of seeing it so often on the masses of cars. Then I made a discovery. The Delicate Arch and I hold a kinship that runs deeper than cartoon sketches on license plates. Do you see it?
Check out the negative space in the heart of the arch. I’ll zoom in a little closer so you can get a better view:
I found this beauty reclining outside a thrift store in Moab, UT. I’ve been looking for a bike, and when I took a closer look I knew we were destined to find each other. We were both, in fact, made in the year, in the same small part of this globe. To top it off (and not to cheapen her any) I was able to talk $45 off the price.
She still does not have a name. Any ideas?