Go outside! Enjoy some of that summer sunshine.
Run through a sprinkler!
Dip your toes in the river/ocean/lake that you are closest to. Then take a running start and do a cannonball into the water.
Buy two popsicles, and share one with someone you love.
Don’t let another day slip by without smiling into the sunlight.
Then, sit outside at night, and stare at the stars awhile. Find the star you used to wish upon as a child… and dust it off.
Go outside! Enjoy some of that summer sunshine.
At about 3:30 this afternoon, the heat had climbed to a new high. Even with the air conditioning on downstairs, and a veritable wind tunnel of fans strategically placed to guide a feeble stream of coolness to the upstairs bedroom…. there was no escaping the sweltering effect of the 104 degree day.
Yanking swimsuits and towels out as quick as we could, we were soon sailing down the road en route to The Swimming Hole. With the top off the Jeep, the hot wind rushed around us in constant reminder of just how wonderful it was going to feel to dip into the icy mountain riverwater.
When we arrived, we picked our way through the trees to the pebbly shore. In no time, I was knee deep in the water, sucking in my breath like I was front row at a horror flick. Boy that first dip into the river is a shocker!!!! Teeth clenched through a grin, every inch further into the river is a goosebump tsunami. It’s like taking off a bandaid. Best do it all in one go, or you’re just going to sit there whimpering.
So, at last - after a good amount of whimpering, I ‘whooshed’ into the water with a banshee screech that lasted just as long as it took me to convince myself I wasn’t going to die from the icicle plunge…. and then, ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh - sweet acclimation.
Fish were literally jumping right out of the water by us. Flopping and splashing, big enough to make me think twice about swimming over in their direction. Not exactly sure I wanted to feel some freshwater salmon slap up against me!
Further up stream there was a huge nest upstream with osprey in it. The young ones creeled for quite awhile, until the sun started to dip behind the tall mountain peeks. Then they were oh so quiet, huddled together in the softened light.
The sun and clouds were providing fantastic rays of light and shadow across the blue sky. The literal ‘silver lining’ was trimming every puff of white.
I pushed out from the sand and rocks on the shore, and braved the depths to see how far across the river I could go. The current hit me about halfway, not exactly pushing me down stream… but certainly keeping me in one place as I swam into it. I didn’t go any further, but floated back to shore and was content to drift in that cool eddy of water that curled around the boulders.
We swam until our teeth were chattering…. and then returned home for a bar-b-que of immense proportions. With sister and family visiting, along with other good friends in town, it was the perfect evening to celebrate with good food and better company. We could smell the savory smoke as we came down the driveway. There was steak, chicken, pork chops… au-gratin potatoes, homemade cole slaw, mom’s unbeatable potato salad, homemade pear AND zuchini bread, Aunt Rosalie’s amazing baked beans (the kind with bacon….) and to top it all off, a tall icy glass of lemonade. I ate because I was hungry, and then I ate for the sheer glory of eating. After all, if you don’t go back for seconds at a family bbq, something is simply off kilter!
My freckles got darker, and the rest of me got pinker. Tops of my feet are tingly from walking in flipflops all day. The hot, dry air of the valley felt fantastic driving back down the canyon from the chilly swimming hole. And tonight, I’ll sleep with only the lightest of sheets on the bed, and that lovely ‘still cooled’ feeling from having the river chill me to the core.
I will think of the sleeping osprey, and the fish who seek the deep still pools of the river to rest beneath the shimmering light of the waxing gibbous moon.
The world looks different when you ride in the back of a truck.
I was helping mom move a desk today, and they brought up the old white Ford to the house. As we scooted the furniture into place in the back, I volunteered to sit with it for the short ride to my Aunt’s house.
The sun was still on the curve to it’s zenith, and was splashing lemon yellow light over the entire valley. I sat on the metal wheel well, arms extended to keep the desk in place. Really, it was heavy enough that it wouldn’t have slid… but I just wanted to freewheel down the road like a kid again.
Wind in my hair, sun on my face… I remembered the days of loading up in the back of the truck with kids, dogs, beach towels and coolers. We’d ride for 45 minutes getting beaten by the wind and loving every minute of it as we made our way to the lake.
Today I felt a stirring of those days. Neighbors out on their porch waved at me. I looked around at the mountains and breathed in deep. The heavy rain the day before was still scenting the air with a trace of pine and earth.
Everybody should climb into the back of a truck and ride down an old country road sometime. No rush… just ‘toodle along’, like my grandma used to say. Makes life slow down, even if for just a few moments. It’s like the sound of creeky screen doors in the evening, and the taste of lemonade under hot July sun. It just makes life better, somehow.
Up the valley from where we live, is a place where the bend in the river is followed by the railroad tracks. Pine trees and orchards share the hillsides, and a vineyard or two can be seen flanking the roadside.
Here, perched on an overlook above the river, is a little weathered bench just perfect for sitting and watching the sun set over the Cascade mountains… as well as waiting for the trains to go rumbling by.
Tonight we arrived just a few minutes too late for sundown, but the horsetail clouds were still lit with the glow. There was even a sundog blazing up above one of the peaks. Had we not seen the sun dip down behind the mountains on the drive up, we would have been fooled by this trick of nature.
I mused outloud that it would be fun if a train were to come by while we were there as it had in times past. As chance would have it, I heard the approach of one within a couple of minutes of giving voice to my wish.
I walked down the slope a bit while my husband positioned himself to take a few pictures. When I saw the train glide into view, I grinned as I realized it was a passenger train with about ten cars including the engine. The sound it made while rounding the bend was a metallic hiss compared to the clank and whine of the cargo trains that normally rumbled along the tracks.
I started waving as the engine went by. In a flash, I could see people in the dining cars. Someone reading a newspaper. A man peering out the window, waving back at me. The last few cars had darkened windows, but there too I saw a few faces hovering in the windows. And then it was gone.
I walked back to the bench and sat for awhile as my husband turned his attention to taking a few pictures of the river. Tilting my head back, I watched a flock of swallows performing their evening acrobats against the fading blue sky. I thought about the stranger in the train as well. Who was he? Where was he heading? Did he have a travelling companion or was he going somewhere alone? Such a mystery, these times when two lives cross for a split second, then veer off into the unknown. I wondered if he will think of the smiling soul he saw standing on the green hill of the Cashmere valley.
We stayed awhile longer, and then headed for home. Hubby smiled at me, knowing how my mind loves to ponder over moments like this. I smiled back, then looked east toward the pink hues reflecting on the mountains. The train was heading in that direction, carrying one small moment in time with it down the whispering silver tracks.