Went on a hike yesterday in Shining Rock Wilderness in search of a swimming hole to cool off a blue-sky sunny day. We found a bright, sweet rock to sit on, dipped our toes in the clear mountain water and cooled our beers, when the thunderclouds rumbled in.
So we didn’t swim, but we got a good soak hiking back.
The warm scent of fresh rain on forest floor, how it calms me.
The sheltering canopy of leafy trees, the dappled light and scattered drops it tosses to the ground.
The sudden canter of raindrops on the river, the ripples each drop startles from the surface.
I remember being a little girl dazzled by fireworks. Aerial bursts of all color, cheering the dark sky, clap after clap. They were bold, they were loud, and they were infinitely exciting. These days, Independence Day usually slips me by with an appreciated day off of work, and if it happens by chance, a fireworks sighting somewhere in the distance.
This year, we loaded the car and headed about an hour northeast of Asheville to visit a family friend at Penland School of Crafts, where they really know how to celebrate the 4th of July. It’s the kind of place where all ages commune, craft knowledge runs generations deep, and you feel inspired just by being there.
We camped out for the weekend in our friend’s backyard with a few other families and many winking fireflies (some of which eventually found their way into mason jars as country night lights, much to the delight of T’s 5-year-old niece).
This year at Penland, I got to appreciate fireworks again through the eyes of some inspired little ones. So many innocent “oohs,” “aahs,” and “wows”. So many squeals of delight and clapping hands; so much excited laughter from faces upturned in awe. I was glad for the reminder of finding simple pleasures and fresh perspective. Children have such a gift for loving the world, and as we grow up, doesn’t that become harder and harder to hang on to?
I was about to give up on having a lovely summer in our new apartment due to this recent unreasonable heat. We had turned on our ceiling fans, set up our tower fan, bought three window fans and two box fans; and I still woke up in the middle of the night sweating.
And then, one sweltering evening, we took a load of boxes down to our shared basement. Wait, what’s that huge, dusty, ancient appliance? Yes, underneath the grime, it’s an air conditioning unit! Does it work? Nobody knows.
We heaved it up the stairs, screwed it into our bedside window, and after an hour of deep, deep cleaning, we turned on our vintage Hampton Bay. You can imagine our spirits since that first blast of heavenly air. Our cat is even willing to sleep inside again.
Now that our apartment is comfortable, here’s what we’ve been up to today.
Well, if I’m going to be honest, I mostly curled up and re-read Anne of Green Gables, while Tommy DIYed it up in the kitchen …
Beets, carrots, and various radishes in hot pepper brine,
Chamomile flowers harvested from our front yard box garden, on their way to the perfect cup of tea.
Tri-colored beans from the community garden, ready to be made into a cold bean salad.