September 24, 2014

Splendor & Mishaps | Autumnal Equinox

We are thoroughly celebrating September this year.  The weather has been notably good.
Leaves will be reaching their fall color peak within the next few days here.  Many are already falling to the ground.

My mom and I took our kayaks out together the afternoon before her birthday last week.  It was her first time in a kayak, and my first time on this particular non-motorized designated trout stream lake.  

Over the weekend, we enjoyed a day of exploring a Minnesota state park, then another just over the Wisconsin state line.  The leaves in that area weren't turning much yet, but the weather was perfect.

Mitch & I spent an evening this week deep in the woods behind our house.  We made our way to a beaver pond, where we watched a majestic pair of swans, busy kingfishers, and some unidentified swimming birds.  I also enjoyed the presence of a chipmunk who was busy stuffing its cheeks. 

A small pond tucked in the woods:

Between all the fall splendor, I accidentally poured a cup of chai directly on my camera while carrying too many things at once.   I had a migraine for a day.. This time of year our to-do list is long, time is of the essence, I hate to have valuable days taken.  And the hard drive on my desktop began to crash.  "Imminent danger of failure" were the words I last saw on the screen.  It's not to be turned on again until all of my photos and files are safely rescued.  (We've mentioned replacing that computer for over a year now.. these things seem to put themselves off until desperate situations strike.) 

My head is better.  My camera survived without major issue, though it's a bit gummy in some of the switches and crevices and will be sent away for cleaning.  And my computer - well with this week's colors and weather being so beautiful and fleeting, I'm not sure just yet when I'll make the 160 mile round trip to the Geek Squad.  I was in the middle of editing grad photos, too.  Unfortunate timing! 
I was able to get some of these pictures of our autumn outings onto my laptop for the time being. 

We're anticipating another Fall adventure this coming weekend.
So much to do, so much to admire - I find myself torn between the two.  :)
I believe last Fall I called this time of year "savoring while we scurry."

Peace, Love, and Falling Leaves,
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September 17, 2014

September: Change in the Air

It's past mid-September already and I've been astray from my keyboard for some time.
The song, "Wake me up, when September ends" has been stuck on my mind a few times this month.
But truth is, today is beautiful and I'm happy to be awake.  

September is a time of re-adjusting for me.  As I told a friend the other day, we're finding our rhythm.. though our rhythm is ever changing.  :)  
I'm adjusting to quiet days to myself after three months of scarcely a single solitary moment. 
We're adjusting to schedules, homework routines, too-short school nights, less daylight, cooler weather. 

Since the zinnias I had started from seed succumbed to frost last weekend, I've also been singing "To everything, turn, turn, turn..."   I'm feeling that one much more truly.
I've made our first fires of the season and soaked in their warmth.  There's still much to do outdoors before snow flies.  I'm happy for warm afternoons again this week and enjoying the days as they turn gold.  

(Hardy Coreopsis, still holding on yesterday.) 

My mom left on Labor Day traveling east to do some exploring for a week.  I sure wish I could have joined her, but I was needed here for first day of school conferences, paperwork, and mostly - finding our feet as we stepped into this hectic thing called a school year.
The highlight of her trip was touring the Gettysburg battle sites.  It sounded pretty amazing.
Speaking of how it sounds.. all my life I had only heard Gettysburg pronounced "Getteesburg," rhyming with "Betty's Burg."  Turns out the proper pronunciation may be "Gettissburg" rhyming more with "Lettuce Burg." 

I've recently taken senior photos of a handful of kids we know, friends of Mason & Eric's, who'll be graduating this year.  That's kept me busy in my darkroom (a.k.a. at the computer monitor.) 
These are the one type of photography "work" I feel confident in doing.  I enjoy the one-on-one capturing of a person's character.  It's a pleasant creative challenge for me. 

Mitch stayed somewhere on Lake of the Woods this week, working on a friend's cabin there. 
Lake of the Woods is very large, the sixth largest freshwater lake located (at least partially) in the United States, after the five Great Lakes. 
It occupies parts of Ontario, Manitoba, and Minnesota. 
The lake separates a small land area of MN from the rest of the U.S. called the Northwest Angle, which happens to be the northernmost part of the contiguous United States.
Lake of the Woods is over seventy miles long and wide, and contains more than 14,552 islands and 65,000 miles of shoreline. It would amount to the longest coastline of any Canadian lake, except that the lake is not entirely within Canada. 
(Some Lake of the Woods knowledge for you, with a little help from Wikipedia.)
He arrived back home last night.

I've sensed around me lately that September seems to be a time for missing people.  I think there's something nostalgic in the air this time of year.   
You know who I'm missing this September?  Our dog, McGee.  The kids' start back to school really emphasized his absence.  This Fall is the first I've been home alone without kids or dog in.. about 17 years. 

We have some big changes on our minds.  They aren't certain and they may take some time.  But I'm excited and it feels good. 
Mitch and I went to look at a piece of property up north last week. 
Not sure this is where our changes will take us, but it was fun exploring with the perspective of possibility.
Growing up on the Mississippi, in a corridor of tall pines there was what we called "The Big Rock" - as the name suggests, a great big boulder, that several kids could climb on at once.  It was smooth and surrounded by a carpet of pine needles.. kind of a magical place in my memory. 
Well, this property reminded me of lots and lots of "Big Rocks."  We knew from looking at the topography map that there was a particularly high point leading to a cliff, and wanted to reach it. Our climb through thick, rugged woods took us to a gorgeous rock summit towering above the trees.  
(My phone did not do an ounce of justice here.) 

It's been fun toying with idea of this as our backyard. 
Big Rocks or not, I've never been so excited to think new thoughts as I am this September.
To everything turn, turn, turn.

Peace, Love, & Possibilities,

September 5, 2014

Last Hurrah of Summer | Park Point Beach

The kids are back to school this week.   Two juniors, a 6th grader, 5th grader, and 2nd grader.
I'm never thrilled when school starts, but I usually take it in stride fairly well.  I feel like this was the hardest summer to let go of yet. 
We wanted to enjoy one last day of adventure before Labor Day weekend crowds and the start of school, so last Thursday Mitch took the day off work and we headed out with the three younger kids.  (Mason & Eric had football practice.  But they had these same kinds of adventures when they were younger.)
We went to Duluth and ended up retracing some of the places we'd just been for our anniversary, only this time the sun was shining & we saw them through the eyes of our kids. 
Here they are out on Park Point, loving Lake Superior.
I couldn't ask for more perfect moments to savor summer.  Sitting in the warm, fine sand, the sound of wind & waves & laughter, watching their bliss.
I was pretty sure they were feeling their inner Karate Kid below.
Rocky and Apollo, too.

We forgot to bring swim clothes or dry clothes, so  they rolled up their pants to get their feet wet and run in the sand.  Gradually the waves kept catching them higher & higher though, and they got wetter & wetter.  Especially Beau, he eventually went all in.  That's what summer days are made for.  We had a towel & made due from there.

Beau was bursting with joy and energy these last moments of summer as a seven year old.  
He practiced handstands.  Eric is our other handstand kid - Beau is reminding me of that.  Eric was always trying to walk on his hands when he was younger, and showed us the other night that he can still do it pretty well even though he hasn't practiced in a while.

Nailed it.

Johnathan is such an observer and thinker.  He watched the waves like this for the longest time.  Sometimes I observe him, and think about what he's thinking.  :)  I wondered if he was counting them. 
This year our 6th grade was moved upstairs to a middle school format.  He now changes rooms & teachers all day and walks the halls with 6-12th graders between classes.  I was so nervous for him.  He's doing just fine.

It hardly seems possible that Lilly is in 5th grade already.  She's been enjoying lots of time with her best friend, which reminds me of being that age.  She's growing up quickly.  I'm thankful she's content being the 10 years old she is, and not trying to be 16 (or 20).

This was only one stop in our adventure as we chased what was left of summer. 
We had such a fun day.

Peace, Love, and Warm Summer Memories,