dive right in

Everybody’s been moving around here, and man, have the Dumpsters been brimming!  I hadn’t planned to seek treasure amid the trash, but I couldn’t help myself when I saw this sticking out.

single woven chair on balcony

Two faux-cane chairs (it’s some kind of plastic), completely intact, without any wobble in their metal frames…what?  Why were you throwing this away, O Anonymous Benefactor of mine?  You know what, forget I asked.  Thank you!

two woven chairs angled for conversation

It’s too hot to sit on the balcony right now, but these chairs can just “air out” until mid-September.  Then you bet your bottom dollar I’m out there with some tea–or wine–and a book. Maybe by then I’ll have devised a little table for this space and Lovey and I can dine al fresco.  Wouldn’t that be nice?

Here’s who’s having dinner in our outdoor living space today.  He is the reason I didn’t put out any flowers this year.  Evil, hungry rodent!  But so…adorable?

a "bird" at the feederWe put out seed and water in the hope that drought-stricken birds would come to us for succor, but only the mangy squirrel has accepted our offerings.  Oh, well.  He’s growing on me a little.

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The Fourth {part two: flowers}

One thing I asked to do while we were in Colorado visiting my in-loves was to go on a wildflower hike.  MIL picked a route she likes, which circles a pretty mountain lake and offers plenty in the way of blooming plants.  You can come along, and you won’t even need a water bottle or an oxygen tank.  (I needed both–at least I had the water!)

Here we are at the outset.  A volunteer from the trailhead took our photo, and while we posed a passing fisherman offered to take “our” picture, thinking the volunteer was part of our group.  They’re a friendly bunch up in the rarefied air.

everyone by the lake

Here’s a glimpse of our hike’s small wonders.  Click on any you’d like to see larger and they’ll open at full size.  If you hover over any of these, you will probably notice that I don’t have a clue what some of them are called.  Feel free to set me straight if “white blossom” is too unscientific for you!  (Thanks to MIL for helping me identify several of the ones that happen to have their proper names listed.)

blue penstemon procerus blue harebell golden aster leafy aster elephant something mountain buttercup
prickly wild rose bumbleybee white blossom blue columbine aster fritillary

Along the way we saw more than flowers.  We glimpsed two feeding moose–thankfully they  were across a river from us.  Doesn’t make for the greatest photos…

moose

…but at least we didn’t have to run for our lives.  This sign advises that if a moose charges you, you should refuse to pay* “run as fast as you can and put something between you and the moose (tree, car, large rock, etc.).”  I’m relieved it didn’t come to that.  *Special thanks to anyone who a.) got that joke b.) laughed–or even groaned; I’ll take a groan.

"beware the moose" signWhen we weren’t avoiding close encounters with dangerous mammals, we were basking in the beauty of nature.  I could have spent hours enjoying the layers of loveliness there: the soft, distinctive fragrance of pine trees; the sound of water burbling over rocks; and the sudden changes in temperature as morning storms built and burst.

All these things reminded me of childhood camping trips, which I often complained about as a child.  Finally, as an adult, I understand my parents’ impulse to leave the frenzy of “civilization” for the serenity of mountain campsites.  Replete with their own noises, they somehow seem so much quieter than life down low.
mountain streamSuch places offer themselves for solitude, yet encourage camaraderie: uniting people who love landscapes, value invigorating hikes, and pause to photograph wildflowers.  They shamelessly allow their streams to cross your path.  They expose their smooth stones as resting places.
dusty shoesThey provide little in the way of modern luxury, yet that little is all a person needs to discover the ultimate luxury of stillness, which for me meant soaking my dusty feet in melted snow, allowing my mind to wander past the green of the ferns and the blue of the sky to a quiet place where my heartbeat slowed down, my muscles relaxed, and I remembered anew how little it takes to equal “enough.”
bare feet in the water

Where do you find that sort of peace?  Have you made your escape lately?