On the autumnal equinox, in 85-degree, sunny weather, we took our fifty-first weekly walk. For the first time, we forgot hats.
We hiked our fiftieth hike twelve weeks after the summer solstice. Only two more to go until we’ve finished the full year, and only one more until astronomical autumn (unless we hike late this week, in which case number fifty was our last summer hike).
On Labor Day, eleven weeks after the summer solstice, we took an afternoon family hike, my spouse, the two kids, and me.
I’ve got Black Water by the Doobie Brothers stuck in my head, and I’m glad about it.
For at least the past five years, I’ve been thinking a lot about who I am. Consumed by my roles as wife and mother, I can’t seem to recall who I was before, and lately I’ve become more and more anxious because I can’t envision who I am outside of these roles.
Just contemplating doing a “role stripping” exercise in a book I read recently prompted a nightmare in which I was cleaning my empty house. It was a place where I used to live with my spouse and kids and now I was vacuuming white carpet enclosed by white-painted walls and afraid to turn around because I was certain there was a malevolent presence lurking just behind me, laughing at my fear.
I don’t have to pay a therapist to analyze that dream. Read More
I’m not as big a poetry person as I think I ought to be, but sometimes I come across a poem that just speaks to me. Who knew Robert Frost felt this way, too?
by Robert Frost
For every parcel I stoop down to seize
I lose some other off my arms and knees,
And the whole pile is slipping, bottles, buns—
Extremes too hard to comprehend at once,
Yet nothing I should care to leave behind.
With all I have to hold with, hand and mind
And heart, if need be, I will do my best
To keep their building balanced at my breast.
I crouch down to prevent them as they fall;
Then sit down in the middle of them all.
I had to drop the armful in the road
And try to stack them in a better load.
Ten weeks after the summer solstice, we took our friend Linda hiking again.
August was a month of berry-picking and watching monarch caterpillars turn into butterflies. I love having the monarch caterpillars chowing down on milkweed in my dining room and forming their chrysalides and then flying around sipping nectar from the flowers in my yard. The new butterflies often perch on my children’s hands or shirts for a little while before flying off, and we all get to see them close up.
“Look! He has fur on his back!” says my son.
“See his proboscis?” asks my daughter, pointing. “He’s unrolling it like a long spring!”
There’s a 50-caterpillar special going on at the place from which we order our monarch caterpillars and/or eggs. I have been so tempted, but alas! I don’t really have the space—or the milkweed supply—to rear 50 butterflies. Maybe I could add a “butterfly room” to my house and fill it with milkweed and caterpillars. I’m sure that would improve my home’s resale value.
Here’s what I read in August when I wasn’t picking (and eating) berries or feeding toxic plants to insect larvae (don’t worry; it’s not toxic to them):
Nine weeks after the summer solstice, and it’s still summer, although the season seems to be growing a little stale.
Eight weeks after the summer solstice, we took my sister for a walk.
Seven weeks after the summer solstice, and we’re back to full-on drought.