To Alex -

To Alex...who is far away in person, but never far from my heart. I miss you. Enjoy these snippets of everyday family life here in the states.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Summer in Michigan

I've had many conversations these past few years with friends who grew up here that go something like this, "do you remember when...?" Generally, those conversations entail reminiscing about the summers of our childhood and wondering if the weather really was hotter back then, or were we just remembering snippets and focusing on the heat because that's where the fun was. You know, swimming in the pond, slurping popsicles on the front porch, lying on sheets in the shade of trees to read, riding bikes, playing whiffle ball in the field while grasshoppers jumped out of our way. Ha! No, this summer finally truly offers us the weather of our memories. Hot, sweltering, melt you into the ground days. Goodness!

I've been sharing my bike riding explorations lately as that seems to be my preferred mode of transportation. This past weekend I got the brilliant idea to ride my bike to Rockford. I wanted a new pair of shoes from the Hush Puppies Outlet and thinking it would be a waste of gas to drive that far... Hmm, note to self, if it's too far to drive, it just might be too far to ride as well. Yep, round trip was about 30 miles and it's a darn good thing I didn't know that until later. Still, as I was riding in the quasi-coolness of the morning, I tried to imagine my youth and was consciously looking and listening for things that reminded me of my childhood. I found plenty. Join me for a journey back to the days of my youth.

Always, always fields full of Queen Anne's Lace and Tiger Lilys. The fields are generally hot, dry and dusty and not good for photos, which means I had to take many of these photos in the shade. You must also imagine the stillness of the air, the heat as it tries to stifle your breathing, the buzzing of cicadas in the distance (which always makes me smile), crickets chirruping and birds singing in the trees. Red-Winged Blackbirds, Cardinals and Robins are the birds of my memory. Here we go...

In Michigan you never have to look far to find a pond or stream to cool off in. I spent many sweltering afternoons splashing and exploring in the cool, knee deep waters of Buck Creek as a child.

Sweet peas growing wild, tendrils twisting and twirling around everything they touch.

The rusty red cones of Sumac. Some types are supposed to be poisonous, but I've picked the red clusters all my life and never had a problem.

No idea what these are, but they certainly mean summer to me.

Ponds surrounded by cattails and covered in duck weed.

Wild grape vine stretching, creeping until it covers the trees and bushes.

Options, that's what summer means. Do I want to go left or right? Do I want to go swimming, or play ball, or ride my bike, or read in the shade?

Black-Eyed Susans.

Oooh, the plague of poison ivy. Again, I've never had it, but I have seen it's victims in torment.

Pretty morning glories growing wild over the fences.

Not a clue, but when you find these blooming beauties, you know you're in the height of summer.

A new find. What in the world is this tree? Honestly, I don't think I've ever seen it before, but it has the subtlest sweet scent and the flowers are amazing. I must find out and plant one in my yard. Does anyone know?

Oh yeah, I would lie in the shade of this tree to read all day long. The scent permeates the air around it. Just lovely.

Here's to the summers of our youth. May we always have pleasant memories and reminders of how lazy and wonderful they were.


  1. Beautiful! You must be getting so fit now!
    I am so spoiled by mild weather here on the California coast!

  2. That's a Mimosa Tree! Beautiful aren't they?

  3. such lovely photos! i'd like to walk right into them. thanks so much for your recent comments on my blog. i appreciate you!!

  4. A Mimosa Tree! Oh, it is beautiful. In fact, it's one of the rare times that a tree has made me come to a screeching halt to look at it.