7/31: not freaking out

...when I saw two snakes sunning on rocks as I was wading in the creek this afternoon.

I didn't get close: I used the zoom on my camera to take the pictures and then went back upstream.

7/30: found

When I was in Loretto recently my mother and I both fondly remembered a short essay written by one of the English professors at the university back in the 80s.  She couldn't find her copy of it at her house.  I said I thought we might have a reprint of it that my father sent to me decades ago; I looked through a folder where I keep miscellaneous dear things and it wasn't there, but today Chris found it in his file cabinet.

7/29: pupusas

...at a new-to-us place in Russellville.  With thanks to Chris for remembering we had heard about it months ago so that as we were passing through today we could check it out.

7/28: folk art

I enjoyed the folk art exhibit at the Crystal Bridges a lot.

7/27: condo

As a lark I rented a 2-bedroom 2-bath condo for my brother, Chris, and myself and our little holiday in northwest Arkansas.  It turns out that it was so much better than getting 2 separate hotel rooms--a great setting to celebrate my brother's birthday a little early.  And then I realized that it was just the sort of thing that Chris' mother would have done, and I was glad to have followed in her footsteps.

7/26: elderflower pressé

I found the same brand in a store here that I've bought and enjoyed in summers past at the British Museum.

7/25: word list

Today I went through the poems that will make up the fourth printed volume of Heron Tree and picked out one noun from each for the book's cover.

Here's the list: attic, beads, bowl, clouds, color, cord, darkness, daughter, earth, edge, eggs, fence, fragment, furniture, glow, harvesters, horse, house, ice, light, lip, morning, moths, neck, night, orchid, path, photograph, porthole, quilt, rain, reflection, sleep, slope, soil, stitch, twigs, vines, visitors, updraft, water, years.

7/24: one more spin

I needed to leave for the airport at 8 a.m. this morning, but my mother and I squeezed in a quick walk around the Schwab estate before that.

Standing under the weeping elm:

7/23: pinochle

As the sun went down and the evening came on, my mother, our dear neighbors, and I played pinochle outside, enjoying the air and the company.

7/22: under the willow

Arranging a sweet table under the willow tree at which to eat dessert and talk into the dark with a childhood friend.

7/21: old and new

This afternoon I visited the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art, where I worked on weekends one summer while I was in high school.  They're having a 40th anniversary celebration exhibit, featuring some of their favorite things from the permanent collection.  I enjoyed rediscovering some pieces that I remember from years ago as well as seeing newer acquisitions.

7/20: syllabub

I'd never had syllabub before, but I like the word and I've intermittently flirted with the idea of making it.  Today I finally whipped some up, and yay!  I'm sure I'll be making more again before too long.  It's a bonus that Pepys mentions having "a good sullybub" (his spelling of it) in his diary for July 1663.

7/19: visiting the lake

I took time this morning and this evening to walk around the lake where, years ago, I learned to swim.  Swimming there is no longer allowed (alas), but I took pictures (of course).

7/18: surrounded by flowers

My mother has had a lot of landscaping done around her house, and much of the (not small) yard is now a garden.  It's amazing to see a variety of colorful flowers everywhere you turn.  Here's a bit of a hydrangea:

7/17: before sunrise

Birdsong heard through the open window.

7/16: in the garden, under the tree, on the porch, and around town

Planting with my mother in her garden in the morning.

Sitting under the weeping willow tree in the early afternoon, talking with friends and neighbors.

Spending the evening out with my childhood best friend, and talking with her mother on their porch before we went.

7/15: out of the box

I grew up seeing this statue while playing and walking in the formal gardens near my childhood home.  When I've been back to visit over the past three years, she's been covered by a wooden box to protect her while restoration work was being done on the wall around her.  Today I was so, so excited to see that she's out of her box.

(Kisine, designed by Paul Manship)

7/14: start and end of the trip

The woman working at the airline check-in station was nice about my being stressed and also nice when she saw me a little later and noticed that I was less stressed.

On the way from the airport to my mother's house we drove through some fields being lit up by fireflies.  No one else was on the road, so my mother just stopped the car for awhile and we watched.

7/13: lunch surprise

When I walked into the kitchen to start thinking about what to have for lunch, Chris was already at work, making crackers to go with some soup.  We've never made crackers from scratch before, and they ended up being more like this biscuits, but they were good.

7/12: kulning

It's a kind of Scandinavian herd-calling.  Chris played audio of some examples today and the cats came running--really!

7/11: Trollope

I'm editing a student's commentary on Trollope's Three Clerks and writing my own commentary for it, too, re-reading the novel as I go.  Gosh, I enjoy Trollope.

7/10: exploring

We drove on some new-to-us country roads this afternoon.  We paused by this bridge to look around.

7/9: sunset & lightning

I wasn't sure whether to go kayaking this evening or not, but the forecast suggested iffy weather, so I decided not.  But, as often happens, I second-third-and-fourth-guessed this decision while doing my rounds at the walking track and seeing the clouds light up on my drive home.  But then I saw lightning and knew it was right not to have taken a chance on the water.  I did get to photograph a bit of the sunset from the track's parking lot.  Though not the brightest or most colorful part, it was lovely.

7/8: finally mailing

...some gifts I meant to mail long ago.

7/7: not in the morning

Every summer I give the kayaks a thorough scrub, and I usually do it in the morning.  Today I did the annual go-over in the early evening.  What a better plan!  Why did I race the rising heat in past years when I could have been enjoying the growing cool?

And the clean kayaks look really good.

7/6: another quartet

Writing this morning about Baricco's An Iliad and realizing I have yet more to write.  Remembering how intense it is (fun and challenging and hard) to think about the Iliad.

Making a big list of things I'd like to (try to) do this summer.  I needed to transform them from a vague cloud into something tangible.

Trying a new combination of ingredients in tonight's salad and enjoying it (and Chris enjoying it, too).

Talking with my sister for our monthly chat after having missed last month.

7/5: quartet

Finishing listening to The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt.

Visiting with a friend in Altus, Arkansas.

Thinking about the Iliad and Alessandro Baricco's An Iliad.

Finding a pile of mail in my in-town mailbox.

7/4: woods walk

After dinner we walked for a bit in the woods behind our house.

7/3: not taking for granted

...the bluebirds on the road to Woolly Hollow.

7/2: making & realizing

I worked on some metamorphosis booklets today, and I realized that I've been making little pamphlets and chapbooks for the past 7 years or so (give or take).  I can feel how my mind and hands have gotten better at it through the gradual practice.

7/1: sharing

...thoughts and M&Ms with Chris after a day that had an unexpected twist in it.