it’s seems so incredibly extreme, that it is difficult to believe that each season in Wyoming is granted its proper 12 weeks. each and every one of them.
summer for us begins with Crit’s birthday. it is a lovely buffer to soften the transition from school life to boo-ya life! and we acknowledge it as such.
then we make a list of all-the-things. our hopes and our dreams for the summer. shoot-for-the-stars kinda stuff and easy-to-check-off kind of stuff too. places to go. people to visit. art to create. paths and trails to stroll. goals to accomplish. skills to practice….
and as magical and romantic as last summer was, i knew better than to hold false expectation for a repeat. some things remained. and everything else unfolded before us as our summer was meant to do.
in June, we searched high and low for wildflowers. we battled the horrific skeeters in search of all the goods. the early season arrow leaf balsam root, the shooting stars, the old man’s whiskers (which Devlin will be sure to inform you is also called Prairie Smoke), blue flax, white ground phlox, then lupine, and yarrow and arnica. we searched for morrels, but only found three. we cheered on a few Tour Divide racers – but not as many as we hoped. we camped. as often as we could. in fact, the homies spent the month of June testing their strengths of courage sleeping alone and together inside the camper trailer outside the house. it sure felt groovy to me…even though we were still waiting for a HOT HOT summer day….
then we headed east. and my wish was the universe’s command. we arrived on July 3 at the BWI airport to a temp of 98 degrees. i was in hog heaven. for realz.
i was thrilled to step out into the pavement and allow the raw urban heat to swallow me up. i don’t want to live like that – but i sure love to visit. especially while lounging around the pool simply spending time with the human beings and family i miss 11.5 months of every year for the past 20 years.
Sharing time and space under the huge family quilt of love-and-be-loved comforts me like no other. i suppose its why i keep showing up.
living on the edge of the wilderness presents challenges. isolation is certainly among the challenges. spending time on the loop that we travel annually in the east coast buffers all my edges. in all sincerity. i like to think there is a place in this universe where we all fit…perhaps many different places once we sharpen our awareness and are keen enough to distinguish. among family has always been that safe harbor for me. no matter the size or the shape, or the piece i was attached to at any given moment, my family has always open their arms and wiggled around so that i fit comfy and cozy inside their embrace. all my family. ALL OF THEM.
OBX was a real vacation. I had heard that once you have children you no longer get vacation – you just go on trips. and while that rang true traveling with toddlers, it is no longer the case. everyday was relaxing and exciting. the homies learned to swim while we were in the east. like legitimately swim. it was like taking a 10-day intensive course. they’re in the water from sun up to sun down most days. Having DW with us at the beach was a real bonus.
Six weeks after Crit’s birthday is mine. this summer, i celebrated my 42 year. it is the mid-point of our summer. we experienced a bizarre summer phenomenon out here at 8,000 feet in the Wyoming wilderness this summer. all of our previous four summer at the Moose Willow, we could expect almost daily late-afternoon thunderstorms. this summer we had none. zero. which sucks for the vegetation and the forest fires, but because i’m always searching for the advantage, worked for us. we moved our mattresses out to the side porch as soon as we returned from the east. we watched the stars and the moon cycle through their phases all summer long. we porched camped on the luxury of our mattresses for weeks. Crit thinks the Milky Way is BEAUTIFUL and Debul woke up each morning during the meteor shower claiming “i still haven’t seen a shooting star in my whole life!”.
On my birthday day – i rode my bike toward Bog Lake. The homies scooped me up along the way and we chilled in isolation at the lake all day long. There was a moment when DW and I went out into the lake to “rescue” the floundering children from the swamp. The section of water that the four of us were confined to was swarming wth a hatch of HUNDREDS of dragonflies. (i really wanna say thousands, but DW says i exaggerate.) the dragonflies hovered just above the surface of the water, and they blanketed the entire south end of the lake. we all knew just how special the moment was to all be joyously sharing our time and space. i think it was thousands after all. it reminded me of a time i was hiking with Erica in the meadow across from Brooks Lake. it was early evening and the sky filled up with mayflies. i’m talking FILLED UP. they seemed to dangle and bob delicately as the late afternoon sun filtered through their tranluscent wings. another one of the moments where the power and the magic of the moment and experience is immediate and profound.
Once we returned from our love-saturated east coast tour, Auntma Jen and Shae came for a visit. One thing led to another and they took the homies to Kansas with them for almost an entire week! The peeps learned intensely about honey bees and swarms and smoking, and checking the pivots, and car shows aren’t actually “shows” they are just cars parked in rows. they saw cows get milked, hiked through poison ivy, ate Dean’s famous crepes and avocado ice cream, loved Lane oodles, and harvested wild plums, peaches, tomatoes. They loved their time in foreign Kansas while wrapped in the familiar love they have established with Auntma Jen, Uncle Dean, Shea, Colter, Kitsy, and Lane. it was most certainly a 2018 highlight.
When i scooped them up in Denver, we went school shopping. and it was mostly painless. i tried my best to keep my chin up and watch them try clothes on that they will feel the most comfortable in this year. cause it does actually matter. wearing clothes that feel right matters. i got it wrong for years and years and years…until i learned about cap-sleeve t-shirts and zip-up hoodies. i spent my childhood and adolescence feeling like an out of place frumpy oaf. i’m moving on, but i don’t want my homies to be “moving on” 35 years from now…
I scheduled myself to teach a yoga class once a week in August. At a time in the morning that worked for many people, and i thought provided childcare. Turns out, that situation was only available June and July and i missed the boat. womp womp. just meant i had to get creative. the homies spent their first week with their good buddy Shank. He said he’d be hiking at that time, so that they could join him. it was another highlight of their summer. Having experiences with Shank are among their favorite uses of time. When they were wee folks, before Frank even had an iPhone or an iPad, he would come over in the afternoons during “quiet time” (Crit made it clear once she turned one that there would be no napping in her house) and he sat flipping through magazines on my front porch while i pedaled out the cobwebs and reminded myself that i am myself after all. The orchestrator of the universe should bow to Frank for all the ways he has helped make my world a better place in the 14 years since we met.
We had a few goals still remaining on our summer list when Devlin took a header off Crit’s bed while wearing a pillow on his head. His arm broke into not-quite-smithereens..but maybe smithers. in the 15 years that i have held a Wilderness First Responder certification, it was the first i had to practice pulling traction to align severally angulated bones. we live, at minimum, 2 hours from the nearest emergency room. suppose we are chalking it up to a parenting milestone. crossing my fingers and holding my breath that i hang on to grace in all those future parenting milestones.
when it was all said and done, Devlin insisted on checking off a few of our summer to-do list. we could no longer tube the creek, dunk in the swimming holes, or ride bikes…all three things that occupied much of our time this summer. instead…we hiked to Deacon Lake and it was truly a wonderful day. Once we got high enough, there were wild strawberries galore…and we stopped and stopped and stopped. to eat strawberries, which isn’t technically stopping after all…
so then school began when we were least expecting it. i was the only one caught off guard. they were ready to return. to find their place. to receive. to grow and grow and grow.
Devlin’s birthday comes 6 weeks after mine. 12 weeks after Crit’s. It is the entire and complete summer cycle. We had big plans for his party – but settled on a non-dominant hand theme. replete with my first piñata and hatchets.
The most redeeming notion about summer wrapping up, is that it is followed up with fall. fall will shorten our days and chill our creek. it will bring shimmering golden days, and wet heavy snow. it will use up each of its 12 weeks to guide us gracefully into winter.
i miss summer already. we are so good at summer. the pace of summer is my cup o tea. but its time is up. we must adjust our pace to suit the seasons. we will. we will.