Sunday, August 01, 2010

The Summer of Being Away

I feel as though I've hardly been home this summer. The moment school let out in June I was on the highway, speeding into summer activities. My oldest son came home for a visit from the West Coast. There were June birthdays, a weekend trip to Vermont, and days spent visiting relatives. I spent the first week of July taking care of a friend's house an hour from my own while they vacationed on the Cape. I spent the last week of July at my brother's house while they vacationed in Maine. It was not a hard job.

There was a pool...

A gazebo

and the little brook where I played as a child...

The old homestead where we both grew up was right next door.

There were black-eyed Susans in their yellow petticoats,

sweeps of delicate Queen Anne's lace,

and patches of sweet scented Joe Pye Weed.

In the mornings I walked a mile up the road and back before breakfast. My days were lazy, spent tending my brother's small vegetable patch, flipping through magazines, splashing about in the pool. Evenings I rode my bicycle up West's hill and on past neighbor's houses, past the old familiar meadows and woods that marked my childhood. It was both exhilarating and nostalgic. My dreams were restless and peopled with those now gone.

From this angle the hill looks mild, but my legs and lungs could tell you differently!

Every night the sun sank slowly behind the mountain. I watched it kiss the tops of the tall corn leaves and bless the trees as it departed, trailing banners of pink and mauve and gold-tinged purple as it set.
Sun saying goodnight to the trees.
Now I'm home again and catching up on my own garden. Many of the cucumbers found their way into jars of pickles that will taste of summer on a winter's day. There are beans in the freezer as well as Swiss chard and eggplant. 
I will be here until Thursday and then I'm off to Oregon to visit family there. When I return, summer will be over, my fridge will be full of tomatoes to jar, and school will be starting. My summer seems to have sped along as fast as the writing of this post!


Marion said...

Wow, your Summer sounds amazing, so filled with activities! I envy the fact that you've got pickles to prepare...I will have to wait for mine until August, and the same with the tomatoes.

Your photo of the Joe Pye Weed makes me nostalgic for one of my former gardens, where I had large patches of this wonderful plant.

Super photos, Pauline...enjoy the rest of your time away from school!

Brian Miller said...

you have had quite the summer...seems jus the other day our boys were getting out of school and in just a few short weeks they will be heading back...where did the time go?

Ruth D~ said...

Time flies, but I think it slowed for you a bit when you were at your brothers. A nice interlude. We have cukes up the wazoo and my husband is pickling them... so now we have pickles up the wazoo! I think I should blog about that. :>)

Tabor said...

I was distractedly reading enjoying your vacation summer when I read eggplant. HOw to you preserve eggplant?

Pauline said...

Thanks, Marion, I'm sure I will!

Brian- next summer I will have the same two house sits but no big trips - a more relaxing summer, I think.

You should Ruth, and I might, too!

Tabor - I peel, slice, lightly salt, and bake them on a well oiled tray with a little minced garlic for about 10 minutes (400 degree oven). When they're cooled, I put the slices in a single layer in a freezer bag. They're good that way in a dish I make that includes layers of stewed tomatoes and Swiss cheese. I put it over pasta or as a side dish with lamb.

Barbara said...

That's exactly the way summer should. I'm glad you were able to relive scenes from your childhood. Is your garden managing to grow itself in all your absence? :)

Pauline said...

Barbara, my garden is producing plenty of fresh vegetables despite my lack of care. I planted raised beds this year and mulched them well to discourage weeds. I tended the beds before and after each stint away from home and am being rewarded now :)

steven said...

pauline what a gorgeous post. lucky you to have such a rich place to visit - rich with the present and the past. i did much the same as you when school ended. one day off and then away for a ten day bike ride. then back for a few days and off to canada's east coast. august will be about reclaiming the garden and the house. then of course the prep for school. lucky me!!! lucky us. steven

Star said...

I love the nostalgic memories of a time long past, reflected in the sunshine on the walls of an old house! I know those feelings. The smell of the flowers and shadows in the lane on a homeward journey are enough to make you cry with pleasure. Summers should always be like that, full of old memories and new ones forming. I enjoyed hearing about your adventures this summer.
Blessings, Star

Anonymous said...

A striking characteristic of your summer so far is the mighty distances you are able to travel from one sojourn to the other. Here in the UK our single week in Cornwall eight hours drive away seems like some sort of Odyssey!

windblownbutterfly said...

Oh, Pauline, what a beautiful summer you've had! I am envious!

Pauline said...

steven - lucky yes indeed :)

Star - thanks for coming by. I still love that old house and would go back to it in a heartbeat

Dick - the longest trip I took was a four hour jaunt to Vermont but the farthest I went was back to my childhood a mere three miles away.

WBB! Thanks for coming by - it HAS been a beautiful summer!

Hilary said...

Sounds like a perfectly full summer to me.. sure looks that way too. I don't consider summer to be over until Labour Day.