‘…many days you have lingered around my cabin door…’
– Stephen Foster
Back in Athens, readers. Back in the city where this blog first began. We closed up shop up in Lake Country on Monday for the season because my oldest daughter’s wedding is this weekend and w/o motorized transportation myself it just seemed like the easiest thing to do. Maybe not the best thing to do w/ the weather as hot as it is right now. But you catch your ride when you have it. And it was a one way ticket on this ride.
Nothing wrong w/ 120 days up north, though. I’ve certainly had shorter seasons over the years in Sparta–so there’s nothing to complain about w/ the duration this year.
Nothing to report out of the ordinary w/ the bike. It did the job that it was purchased to do. The tires stayed pressurized all summer–allowing me to pedal into town and back for upwards of a 1000 miles to take care of all the business that needed to be taken care of. Outside of a few mishaps–namely, the fourth of July chicken incident and the two dog bites Girl got from Sparkles of the lunging lab brigade–the morning musings were uneventful and thought-inducing. Just the way they were drawn up in the good living manual this spring. Girl put nearly 1000 miles of wear on her ‘wheels’ w/ all her morning/afternoon/evening walks for the season. And we both got plenty of lake baths on the hot and humid days to keep us cool and refreshed morning, noon and night.
Lots of summer reading, per usual. But the literary highlight would have to be the inclusion of audio books to the repertoire for the first time this year. I picked up another CD player for the bedroom on the way up this spring and that was certainly money well spent. Instead of reading to induce sleep, you just hit play and listened to the words until they sent you into lala land. What an enhancement to the total volume consumed these audio books are, too. More books. Less effort. In fact, I can see a day when most of my literary enjoyment will come via the ears and not the eyes. And when that day comes it will be a triumph for the art of efficiency on the literary front.
The final piece to the good living puzzle was all the good music that I listened to this summer. I went through pretty much the entire catalog of cd’s which stay in the trailer all year long. From Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys box set; to the Asch recordings of Woody Guthrie; to the Nirvana collection; to the Flatlanders work both solo and as a group; to R.E.M., etl., the music came alive as if the songs were being heard for the first time. I listened to all the words. I let them sink in deeply. And they were good. So good. I shudder to think of a life w/o music. It’s too hard to imagine my life w/o it. So I won’t, of course. But this summer it seemed an extra special one to me on the music front. I don’t know why. I don’t know why. But it was. Well maybe I do, when I reflect on the subject some more. The reason, though, isn’t as important as the fact. And the fact was that I got a lot more out of the songs this summer than just background music. It was something deeper and for that I felt blessed that I was open enough to allow it all to seep in. Seep in to the bones. Good stuff.
It all made for a rich and rewarding summer. One of the best ever ‘up north’, to be sure.
And, Lord willing, Girl and I will be able to do it all again next year. We’ll start the countdown next March.
As for now, though? Here I am…there I go, turn the page.
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- The city is not a concrete jungle, it is a human zoo.
– Desmond Morris
Though I’ve had a place of my own in Minneapolis for 8 plus years, this is the first time that I’ve actually resided in it during late summer. Every other year I’ve returned to the abode the first week of October at the earliest. Definitely autumn on the calendar and always cold enough to see a 30 something on the thermostat in the trailer up north for a few days before I leave. Of course, w/ that you get the visual treat of the leaves turning colors to make the stay worth your while.
So the early arrival back to the city of lakes has a different vibe to it for sure. The heat and humidity every day this week has me and the dog down at Lake Calhoun in the mid-afternoon for her cool down/lake bath. And it’s definitely summertime in the city!
Loads of people on and around the beach every afternoon making the most of their summer days. The afternoon joggers breaking a heavy sweat, too. It’s impressive to see so much activity in these sweltering conditions. What a difference in numbers from a February morning when me and the dog have the pathway almost to ourselves when we circle the lake. Summer wins in a landslide in the popularity contest.
Anyways, as for the morning musings w/ Girl right now?
Well, the initial reaction to our journeys this week is that we are surrounded by thick, lush green vegetation that has prospered nicely these last couple of months. The greenery is wildly unkempt, overgrown, and naturally beautiful. An ode to a healthy environment of pristine plant life all w/in the boundaries of a city of a half million residents.
Cedar woods has always been a slice of ‘up north’ heaven for those folks lucky enough to be able to walk it’s trails. But the denseness of the forest right now screams a natural robustness to the flora to me. Pristine, really. Just pay attention for the bikers when crossing the paths. W/ all the growth you are visually impaired in more than a few spots.
And the lake has been the locale for my morning baths after the sweat heavy jogs all week. The perfect endings to these humid musings, to be sure.
Summertime in the city? I’ve been just fine w/ this new experience of being. Nothing to fear w/ returning early it seems. Nothing at all.