It's so weird that we've been on summer vacation for a full month now. I was happy about this until I saw that my east coast friends are just starting theirs and now my gloaty happiness has turned to bitter envy. Gloatful?
I just thought I'd check in and see what summery things I have to say. Because as we all know, I know just as much as you do when I sit down to start typing something.
1. Summer hikes. I originally made a summer goal to go on 1 million hikes. Somehow it has not worked out that way but I have done a few. One was down south in Escalante, UT. It's a beauty of a hike, 3'ish miles and ends with a giant waterfall. It's awesome except it was approx. 3 trillion degrees and we had oldie parents and young kids. Whoops. Fortunately, we had some bags of ice with us, originally intended for coolers but would learn were destined for a greater purpose. Sean and I ended up carrying a half bag of ice each and would hand out cubes to people to do with what they will. For instance, wrapping in a bandana and tying around your neck. Or stuffing down your shirt and resting them comfortably inside your swimsuit (that was me. best ever) Or just holding them against your face. It was hot, dang hot, and a time when the feeling in the air started to get hazy and blurred and started to smell of survival. You know, when you begin to wonder what you have in your pack, that you should probably start rationing your water. Not real survival, but kind of, which is a game i enjoy.
Here is a picture of me at a different waterfall trying to dip my head in the falls and not die.
2. Summer snakes. For the first time in my life this summer I saw a real rattle snake. It was hideous and terrifying. It was on this same camping trip and as I was walking across the dirt road back from the bathrooms (that information is unnecessary) at desert dusk, I saw it, casually pointed at it-- "snake" and then my heart did a little flip. Still getting used to being in nature, the cause for real terror is delayed for me and my initial feelings are "who let this snake out of the zoo? Whose pet is this?" It's weird that it just LIVES there. Anyway, it was headed straight for our campsite with a dozen kids so we all turned warrior. I've learned that in the fight or flight reflex scenario, I believe i tend to lean more toward fight. I will FIGHT that thing. Stupidly, even. I semi-hysterically told Sean, "get the hatchet! I'll kill it!! I'll do it!" He, also half-hysterical, replied, "you have to get super close to it to use that!" So we began throwing rocks at it and it turned on its rattle (because it's not real, see) which was super scary. The sound of a real snake rattle in nature-aaah. Finally my snake-loving brother (in the days of yore, he's not that creepy. But as a teen he used to collect them and keep them in the window well. GROSS) got a long ax and chopped its head off. A nephew got the rattle. We were all jealous. But scared. I still am. *shudder*
3. Summer Timp. Speaking of hikes and snakes, my friend Brooke has made a goal to hike the nearby Timpanogos Cave trail 36 times this summer. Click here to see some pics of the cave. We've toured the cave already but the hike is really where it's at. 1.5 miles basically straight up. Ok, basically at a semi-steep incline. It rises about 1,000 feet in elevation from base to cave and it's a paved path as shown below:
Also? It's a 10 min. drive from my house. Guh-lorious. The sights and the smells are SO beautiful, SO rejuvenating. Brooke and I go together but sometimes i go alone and when i do i listen to podcasts that make me think some wonderful thoughts that i immediately forget if I don't discuss them with Sean right away. It's some serious exercise, both up and down, and I love it so. I've done it about 10 or so times now and I think I'm addicted.
Well, the other day I was hiking in the morning and saw the most hideous worm/snake ever. It was so repulsive, I felt like I wasn't really meant to see it. It was red like a worm but moved like a snake, though slowly, and it had a snake head. I shouldn't have looked at it. I feel like i cursed myself by looking at it and now bad luck will befall me. Like normally it's a kind of evil, a demon that only lives in shadows and the one time it emerged, with no one else around, I the unlucky soul, just happened to glance down at the wrong moment. I should have performed a spell, commanding it to return to the shadow from whence it came, but instead I took a picture. It could have been some kind of snake baby which is somehow more disgusting, and Sean wonders if it's a rattler (we're still traumatized) since it has a stubby tail. Here's a picture. *vomit face*
And now that you've seen it I am afraid you are cursed as well. You have seven more days to live.
4. Summer fruit. Let's talk for just a minute about berry season and how it's the greatest thing. Well, that's pretty much all I need to say about it but let's just sit and let that thought really soak in. Best. Ever. There is no end to blueberries that Julian and I can eat. Really. Oft we get those giant-sized containers from Costco and sit out on the porch and one by one toss them back until we lick the clam container clean.
5. Summer fruit tip: If you have a mandatory bowl of apples on your counter top like I do, put delicious fruits with it for an infused flavor combo. For instance: peaches. We combined our peaches with the apples and then I ate an apple and was like, WHAT AMBROSIA HAVE I DISCOVERED IN MY BOWL? It tasted amazing and it was too subtle to immediately be like, what the, am i eating a peach? but enough to be freakin' delicious. Also, cut your apples on the same spot where you sliced a lemon. I know lemon juice and apples go together, this is old news, but for some reason--maybe if you do it accidentally and that's the secret--it tasted extra good.
6. Summer pools. Public pools are getting more and more gross to me, in my mind. Which is sad because the pool is the best! Except when you think about all the gallons of sunscreen and gross bodies and questionable fluids you're swimming around in. Blehh. I just have to put it out of my mind. It's hard though. But-- i made an important discovery whilst at the pool and it is this: Adolescent boys sound JUST like moms. Like 40'ish-age moms. And it's
super trippy. I'm always a bit startled to find that the mom who had told her friend, "dude,
let's go down the slide again" was actually a twelve-year-old boy. And I
know I should probably just say "woman" instead of mom, but that's
where my brain went. It's really weird though. Next time listen up and
you'll notice it too. It kind of makes sense though, since I've often
thought my singing voice sounds like that of a teenage boy.
7. Summer reading. Did you take English classes where you had to read books before the school year started and you were like, this is a serious rip-off! For me it was the summer after 9th grade. Though one of my best because it basically consisted of me and my friend Amy riding our bikes from morn until dusk and playing bike games with a tennis ball, a summer memory my mind takes me back to often, I also had mandatory reading to do which was just a real drag. You know, we should all go back and re-read the required reading books but this time for pleasure and see how we feel. See if it's still tainted by school. Maybe. This past year my book club read The Scarlet Letter and I just couldn't do it.
Anyway, we do not have required reading this summer but what we do have is Julian's school's library open once a week and I'm realizing the 5th-6th grade level reading is RIGHT up my alley. Those short mysteries written in the 70's-90's--YES. No phones, no annoying modernity. It feels classic and simple but well thought out and I love it.
So far I've read Melusine, a super legit-creepy book set in a summer break chateau in France, Summer of the Swans which was so, so nice, and Someone Was Watching, about a family tragedy that takes place at a summer beach house... but with unanswered questions. I perused the shelf of Goosebumps yesterday wondering if I could revisit that. Time will tell.
So, in short, looks like the summer so far is shaping right up.