Bright sunlight, fluffy bright white clouds in a bright baby blue sky, breezy, but not windy, perfect paddling temperature, we have stopped along the river for a picnic lunch, a group of high school senior girl scouts canoeing and kayaking a different section of the Hudson that yesterday’s trip through the gorge. They are loving every minute of it, laughing, talking, playing, enjoying their trip to New York state from sunny, hot southern Florida. As part of today’s lunch, we have watermelon I bought this morning on a food run. I cut through the variegated green skin, slice through the dark red fruit, juice runs over the table. With a crisp snap a piece breaks free. After all the girls have had their fill I take my first slice of watermelon of the season. The cool, sweet, watermelon flavor exploded in my mouth with the first bight. Sugary red juice runs down my chin as I noisily slurp it up. I greedily eat, crunching, slurping, and savoring. This is what summer tastes like!
On rafting days, I do yoga on the porch to stretch everything out, waked up, and loosen up. It also helps get my mind and soul into that good, happy, peaceful space that helps keep me focused and on point later in the day. Facing east, the full trees block sight of the river and skyline, but I know it’s there, with the full bright sun shining down in glorious morning grandeur. Morning yoga feels amazing as I gently stretch and awaken every muscle and joint to get it ready for the strenuous day ahead. I give thanks for being alive and connected to all the living things around me. I express gratitude for being able to do the things I do with my body and mind. I breath in the breath of life, I breath out compassion and love. Morning yoga is a moving meditation, poetry in motion, art and life.
Cloudy, overcast, grey, gloomy, heavy grey dripping darkness under the trees, I am laying in my tent listening to the evening rain fall sharply on the tarp and hiss through the tree leaves. It should still be full daylight out at the time, but the rain has other ideas. I will go to sleep early tonight with a lullaby of raindrops in my dreams. Suddenly all around me bird song erupts. They are immune to the dreary wetness! They will not be silenced by rain clouds! These birds are musical, their nasal song going up and down the scales, twinkling, delicate, and resonating like a harpsichord. I don’t know what they are and I can not see them, but their music lifts my heart and soul to a perfectly peaceful place.
The rhododendron is in full bloom. I have several bushes in the yard with various colors of flowers. When in bloom, the whole bush is like one big blossom. I love burying my face in the flower bunches and smelling the delicate floral scent. With all the rain it has been a good year for insects. I stood for a long time at each rhododendron bush and watched all the bumblebees and butterflies and other insects fly around and drink nectar from each flower. You can stand quite close and the bees will leave you alone as long as you don’t threaten them. The buzzing was amazing. Almost every flower has something crawling around in it carrying pollen on its legs, and hopping from flower to flower. It is fascinating to watch this insect behavior up close and personal. They are busy with the flowers these bees and butterflies!
This morning, I got up early with the sun, went over to a nearby state park and put my kayak in the water. Warm yellow sunlight pouring in from the eastern horizon, flowing out overt the lake like liquid happiness. I paddled quietly around the shoreline to see what I could see in the quiet morning stillness. Large catfish with swishing tails, rooting through dead tree branches in the shallows, large algae covered turtles swimming lazily near the surface, birds flitting between trees twittering morning greetings to each other, green and red lily pads and bright happy water lilies, the smell of campfire smoke drifting on unseen air currents from early risers in the camp ground, and then a family of mallard ducks. Mamma duck proud and watchful paddling slowly along the shore with seven little fluffy yellowish brown baby ducks paddling their tiny webbed feet furiously to keep up. I kept a respectful distance so as not to frighten the little family, but watched them paddle and feed for quite q while. Mamma kept her eye on the the whole time, but didn’t try to chase my off. Baby ducklings peeping for attention and mamma duck keeping them moving down the lake shore, learning how to be good little ducks.
My husband ordered a large package of rye grass seeds also know as cat grass. About a week or so ago I planted a crop in a small plant pot. Now it is a few inches long, lush, thick and bright green, perfect for giving to the cats. I set the cat grass pot in the middle of the kitchen and watched. Old Man Max Cat came right over and stuck his face in as deep as it would go and started chewing. Lily Cat came over to investigate what Max was up to and decided to try it too. Shadow Cat is slightly wary of getting to close to the other when they are riled, so she approached cautiously, but after one whiff, stuck her face in a started gnawing on the rye grass as well. Tiger Cat, the biggest and wimpiest, sneaked up on it in a crouch, pawed a grass blade down to his nose to sniff, and then took a tentative taste. Apparently it was to his liking, because soon he was chewing and chomping with the others. All four cats with their heads in the cat grass, pawing, chewing, shaking their heads, pulling blades out of the pot and spreading them all over the kitchen. Oh yes, they love their cat grass!
One of my favorite summer pastimes is to take an inner-tube down to the creek. Usually I float, read, and sunbath, then dip in the water and go home when the sun sinks low in the sky. This time, for my first inner-tube experience of the summer, I decided to float down stream from the far bridge to the near bridge. We have had much rain this season and the creek seems high enough to float a tube down. I walk the half mile up the road and get in the water. There are many shallow areas where I have to scoot along with my feet, and only a couple of areas where I needed to actually stand up and walk a few feet to a deeper section. The rapids were fun! I had to sit high on the tube so as not to bump my bum on the rocks. The tube bounced down through the waves, would hit rocks and spin and only threatened to overturn twice. What a wonderful carefree and laughing way to welcome the return of summer!