I know it’s nearly the middle of July, but I feel like my summer has just begun.
Having helped the kids close out the school year, worked to pull together the pieces of one job and started a new one, and taken several work-related trips out of state, all in May-June, I didn’t have the typical ease into summer.
While I’ve been indoors filling my brain with things I need to know for this next phase, summer had been unfolding without me, or so it seemed.
But this weekend I finally had a chance to go on a walk with some of the kids. To me, a stroll around the neighborhood is one of the truest signals of summer, and it didn’t disappoint.
Who knew grapes could grow in North Dakota? Not me, until my son and I noticed them crawling along the top of a neighbor’s chain-link fence.
And the lovely hydrangea. Nothing says summer like this bounteous beauty.
This lime-green maple-leaf branch caught me, too.
It didn’t look quite right, as if the wrong kind of weather has affected its growth. And yet, there it was, a mark of this year’s summertime landscape. I’ve named this shot, “3 Shades of Leaf.”
That was from Saturday night’s walk. Then Sunday, I found myself on another. My walking partner helped lead me into Lindenwood Park, where we were both drawn by the river and surrounding vegetation, not to mention a little shade to shield us from the direct heat of midday.
When you’re on an adventure, you need to be prepared for anything.
Including a girl carrying her pet boa constrictor. She even let me pet it, and explained how its iridescent sheen is indicative of fresh, newly-molted skin.
True story: I thought she was from the zoo, and when I asked if she was, she said no, just a pet owner. This cute little fella had a proper name but I can’t recall now just what. Isn’t he so sweet, though? The kind of warm-fuzzy thing you want to curl up with on a lazy afternoon. (Not!!!)
Sometimes, you get lucky. Had we arrived a day later, this bridge would have been closed for the summer.
So off we went, across the Red River, into Minnesota.
On the way back into North Dakota, I finally got the photo I’d been trying for all along. This is what makes such a jaunt worth the trouble and a little extra sweat. I call it, “Where the Red River Flows.” Or is it red fern? Either works here!
Q4U: What signals summer to you?