Tag Archive 'late summer'

Aug 17 2017

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Last Days of Summer

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The other day I noticed goldenrod in bloom along the roadside. I’ve been seeing it everywhere since, including my own back yard. Goldenrod. We all know what that means. Summer is on the wane.

Each morning I go to the window before eating breakfast, open the shades and announce to my wife that it’s another beautiful day. I prefer sunny days to overcast ones, of course, but this time of year they are all beautiful. Fresh produce, t-shirt weather, everything in bloom – how can you go wrong?

Autumn is also a wonderful time of year, especially here in Vermont. Still I am saddened by the prospect of summer coming to an end. There is still so much I want to do before the big chill comes.

The march of time. Days go by, weeks pass, seasons change. I want to slow it all down, but there seems to be no way to do that. Yesterday I filled a pint container with blackberries for the first time this year. Already some of the best bushes are past their prime.

One day is just as good as the next, I suppose, regardless of the season. Nonetheless, I will try to savor these last few days of summer, making the most of them. That means spending as much time outdoors as possible. To confound myself, I have resumed writing already – something that I usually don’t do until September. And what do I write about? Being outdoors. Go figure.

 

 

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Aug 16 2016

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Wild Blackberries

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blackberriesIt’s late summer and the blackberries are ripening. A few steps from our new house they grow wild. I discovered them a few weeks ago.

They grow along the pathways between our house and the nearby quarry – a good place for a short walk. Wide pathways riddle the local woods. And where sunlight strikes, blackberry bushes magically appear.

From green to red these berries ripen. When they get that deep purplish hue, they’re ready to be picked. I can hardly resist. Their plumpness is alluring. Pop a couple in your mouth and you know what happiness tastes like. Sweet, yes, but with a zing to them that all wild fruit seems to have.

My wife Judy has gone through several pints of them. She went a-picking with me once but is happy enough just eating them at home. I, on the other hand, like picking blackberries more than eating them. It feeds my compulsion.

Don’t get me wrong. I eat plenty of blackberries as I pick them, popping one in my mouth for every two or three that goes in my container. That seems like a good ratio.

Between picking and eating, I grow lighthearted, almost giddy. Wearing only shorts, t-shirt and flip-flops, I am scratched by the thorny blackberry bushes and take plenty of bug bites, but I don’t care. I sweat in the sunlight breaking into the humid woods, but I don’t care. Picking becomes my raison d’être. I pick therefore I am.

Picking and eating, picking and eating… It’s a simple countryside pleasure that keeps me connected to the earth, making me glad to be alive. The world is going to hell in a hand basket, or so I hear. But while I’m a-picking, none of that matters.

 

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Aug 25 2014

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Late Summer Walk

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goldenrodA warm summer day. Not a cloud in the sky. After dinner Judy and I go for a walk on the Rail Trail. Our dog Matika is excited by the prospect, having been cooped up in the house all week. She bounds ahead as we amble along the path. Crickets, the smell of cow manure, and a low-hanging sun that sets the surrounding verdure aflame: Vermont at the end of the day in late August.

I look around for blue asters – that unmistakable indicator of the season coming to an end. I don’t see it. Instead I find Queen Anne’s lace, bladder campion, and a few other wildflowers that have filled the fields and lined pathways all summer long. Goldenrod is in its glory, of course. It’s that time of year.

When the trail enters the forest, I sense the air getting warmer. It’s more humid, actually. Both Judy’s eyeglasses and mine fog up. And the mosquitoes come out. No matter. We keep walking.

Having broken a sweat I suggest that we turn around. Judy wants to go a little farther. We go as far as the cluster of houses just beyond the wild, wooded section of the trail. That’s when I find a patch of blue asters barely discernible in the fading light. Yeah, the season is winding down.

On the way back to the car, we spot an owl flying low through the dark woods. It lets out a high-pitched screech after landing on a limb. In the semidarkness all we can see is its silhouette, yet the way that stealthy predator dips its round head is unmistakable. The owl flies off silently into the night.

We catch a sliver of bright orange light on the western horizon while finishing our walk, then relive some of the highlights of our grandkid’s visit as we drive home. It all happened so quickly.

 

 

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