My parents live about an hour from the ocean. Whenever I visit, I make at least one pilgrimage to the beach to watch the sun rise. In June, close to the solstice, that is really freaking early in the morning. However, I believe it may be a biological imperative ingrained in my system. It is like an instinct that I must follow. It is always worth it. It was still dark when I left the house heading east to the Atlantic Ocean. The sky got lighter as I traveled closer to Fernandina Beach. A lilac sky fading into pastel pink and blue as the early morning sunlight grew brighter and stronger. This early in the morning I am able to park right next to the beach entrance and only a few other people are out and about. A cool brick breeze whisks over the sand and the surf sighs in and out, small waves breaking just off shore. I sit and watch. The horizon is a flaming red orange cloud bank, reflecting on the surface of the ocean, as fast endless sheet of florescent pink and orange. The few storm clouds rising up from the horizon have dark grey interiors, outer edges constantly moving, glinting with blinding gold light. My breath catches in my chest and I sigh with happiness as the top edge of the intensely bright glowing pink coral sun disk flows into view above the watery horizon. It shimmers and wavers, its boarder shifting, diffused through the cool morning air. My eyes water at its brightness as it grows larger, the earth spinning, bring more of the sun into view across the water. The top edge disappears into the cloud bank sending yellow, pink, orange, and gold sunbeams streaming from the top of the cloud against the faded light blue of the lightening sky. As the sun climbs, the cloud bank on the horizon started to dissipate, burned off by the intensity of our nearest star. The storm clouds turn billow white and fluffy as the sun emerges in its full sun strength, dazzling orb, too bright to look at. The colors quickly fade as the sky turn daylight blue receding away to infinity. The sand and air warm quickly in the morning sunshine. It will be another perfect summer day.
Sitting at the breakfast table, looking through the picture window at the shadowed narrow valley we live in. The brown bare tree branches sway gently in an early morning breeze, while crinkly dead brown leaves scatter and skitter along the road. The cold blueish shadow of the valley contrasts with the bright blue of the sunlit sky above. As I sit watching, the first sun rays touch the hill crest across the way. Those trees burst into a brilliant golden ribbon that promises a warm sunny autumn day. I patiently wait while the ribbon expands, sunlight creeping down the hill. It will take an hour or so for that light to reach our yard, but its blazing promise is worth the wait!
Bright warm sun light pouring from a cloudless immense clear blue sky, gleaming blindingly off the inviting cool calm water of the lake. We are all in the water (kids and adults), swimming, paddling kayaks, playing on the blow up pool toys and inner-tubes, diving, splashing, floating, laughing, enjoying being together. We paddle out to some rocks and bask in the sunshine (while the kids continue their swimming adventure), laying on the sun warmed surface, soaking in the heat, letting our skin dry in the warm air, the smell of water and earth, the feel of sunlight and gentle breezes, talking, laughing, and enjoying time to relax and reunite. This is exactly what I had wanted when I suggested this reunion plan last year. The perfect lake day materialized and life is good!
I’m on another Hobbit Adventure, traveling through and filling in some blank areas on my own personal internal map of the world. I am guiding 23 teenagers on a 3 day canoe trip across Lake George! It’s an amazing sunny warm day, the kind of day summer is supposed to be full of, but this summer has been miserly on delivering. Excitement reigns everywhere, bubbling out of all the participants, babbling into the clear blue sky and sparkling blue water. Loaded down with camping gear, we pull off the beach and paddle into the mayhem that is Lake George: wind, sun, colors, and sounds accost us from all the pleasure boats, motor boats, pontoon boats, tour boats, boats dragging para-sails into the clear bright sky, boats flinging water skiers tither and yon, jet skis whizzing, and multi-million dollar waterfront mansions in private developments. Here we are, bobbing up and down on the whims of the waves, watching the world go by slowly, to the rhythm of canoe paddle blades slooshing through the water.
One of my absolute favorite summertime solitude activities is to float in the creek and read. There is somewhat of a ritual to this. First I do some sort of dirty, sweaty yard work. Then around 2 or 3 pm when the sun, humidity, and heat are at their fiercest, I pack a beach bag with water, a snack, sunscreen, sunglasses, reading sunglasses, a sun hat, a beach towel, and a magazine or two. I cover my hair with a bandanna, place the inner tube on my head, and walk half a mile up the road to the nice swimming hole at the far bridge. Once there, I precariously climb down the rocks to the water, then gingerly make my way a little upstream to the three foot waterfall and the deep pools around the big rocks. The water here is clear and cool with a green blueish tint. The rocks underwater in the current are slimy with algae and ones in the eddies are slippery covered with fine mud red silt and clay. This year one boulder that stands 4 or 5 feet above the water has a hole deep enough to jump into. Standing quiet and still before jumping, I have seen many small and several large fish who dart away in response to a wave of my arms! After jumping a few times and swimming around a little, I settle down into the inner tube with my reading glasses and a magazine, usually Discover, Sierra, or American Whitewater. The tube floats lazily around in circles in the big eddies surrounding the river boulders. If I bump into shore or a rock, I kick off and continue floating. Eventually the tube runs aground sitting at the top of a shallow rapid, where I will just sit and keep reading until I feel like pushing off into the eddy again. Sun, fluffy clouds, blue sky, floating in cool fresh water, bird song, and the sound of water rushing over rocks. This is a perfect summer pass-time!
My husband has gone to work. I have the house to myself, so I open every window to the sunny warm spring day! I work in the yard and garden, wearing skimpy shorts and a bikini top (my typical summer attire), slathered in sunscreen, head covered with a large floppy sun hat that shades my face and neck. I am a sun worshiper through and through. Later in the afternoon, after I have mowed the lawn, I go inside to fill my water bottle and drink it, I feel a teasing, tantalizing breeze. Looking through the window I see branches with small new florescent yellow green spring leaves gently waving in the sunlight. I let my gaze drift around the house; papers rustling on the table, pollen and dust moving through a sun beam, curtain swinging in the bedroom doorway. I realize I am standing in a gentle wind tunnel, with a warm breeze traveling through the whole house. For the first time this year, all the windows are open, and a summer like breeze is cooling the sweat on my skin, and ruffling the fur of a cat sleeping on the window sill. I am in love.
FINALLY! It has stopped raining, it isn’t overcast, and it’s warm! Sunshine and blue sky! Spring is here at last! After morning yoga I fall into the hammock and just soak up the radiant heat from the sun. There are a few clouds roaming around, so after a while, one crosses over the sun and I get up to work in the yard. I stay outside all day working in the garden. I plant seeds in starter boxes, and cover the garden area with ground cloth. I haven’t done much with it the last couple of years, so this year I want vegetables! I bask in the warm sun shine all day, tracking it as it moves across the hollow. I even take my two mile walk up the road and back to see what spring is doing through our little notch on the mountains. I am unbelievable happy to have the sun back! My soul sings, my heart leaps, and my spirit soars!