Summer for real

canola fields - 1

06.28.16  The windows are all open as well as the three sets of French doors out to the front porch.  At 9 p.m., still hours before dark, it’s 77 degrees.  A full year since it’s been this hot and it’s safe to say, now, that we are into full-on summer.  Yesterday, we drove the boys to Joy’s cabin in Niehart, to reunite with the parents, and shared stories about our various adventures over a late night dinner.   Early in this morning’s golden dawn, rain pelted the metal roof of the cabin as a little thundershower passed by, and we were up and gone by 7:30 a.m.  It’s a five-hour journey home, along the stunning Rocky Mountain Front, where the plains rise up to meet the Glacier Park snow-covered peaks.   Little has changed in this landscape since Lewis and Clark made their way through, and our cool and wet spring made it more green than I’ve ever seen it.  Then, back to the Flathead Valley, with blooming yellow canola fields, and home to our lake.  Starting the summer for real.

It’s the time of year, if I’m not very careful, in which I can get lost in the nostalgia of childhood summers, or a perfect imaginary summer which may or may not have happened.  I can easily set myself up for disappointment.  The author of one of the blogs I follow wrote today, “this is the summer of all of my dreams.”  Oh, so much pressure to make these six weeks count, to fall into the trap of expecting each magnificent day to be a certain kind of day from our illusory imagination.  To make the error of thinking, “this isn’t the one I’ve been looking for…”  To remember that, in the real world, every day is the day we are looking for.

The Life of a Day

Like people or dogs, each day is unique and has its own personality quirks which can easily be seen if you look closely. But there are so few days as compared to people, not to mention dogs, that it would be surprising if a day were not a hundred times more interesting than most people. But usually they just pass, mostly unnoticed, unless they are wildly nice, like autumn ones full of red maple trees and hazy sunlight, or if they are grimly awful ones in a winter blizzard that kills the lost traveler and bunches of cattle. For some reason we like to see days pass, even though most of us claim we don’t want to reach our last one for a long time. We examine each day before us with barely a glance and say, no, this isn’t one I’ve been looking for, and wait in a bored sort of way for the next, when we are convinced, our lives will start for real. Meanwhile, this day is going by perfectly well-adjusted, as some days are, with the right amounts of sunlight and shade, and a light breeze scented with a perfume made from the mixture of fallen apples, corn stubble, dry oak leaves, and the faint odor of last night’s meandering skunk.

Tom Hennen

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