(started at 7:15am, finished at 10pm)
When last we spoke, I told you it smelled like geocaching, and this weekend, my nose knew.
We went out both days. My legs feel like jello, like my knees perhaps won't support me if I jump up suddenly (for instance, if a racoon falls through my ceiling at 4 in the morning. That would be a sudden jump up, and I might fall right down. Adding to the comedy).
It felt really good to get out on the trails. It wasn't too hot, just hot enough to break a sweat while walking in the sun, and nice enough to enjoy when slipping into the deep shade of a little forest at the edge of a hot meadow.
There was a nice breeze, and we went from hill to forest to meadow to black raspberries to a prep school campus all in the span of a few hours. All told, I think it was 3 miles of walking on Saturday, another 4 on Sunday, and only one geocache not found. Not a bad haul.
Our count is up to 478. I had hoped to hit 600 by this time, on the pace we were enjoying last year. But this year the move slowed us down, and the weather was uncooperative. So we'll be lucky to hit 550 by the end of the year.
The big thing that struck me is how very much I love a certain smell this time of year. I'm not sure I can describe it. I'm not sure you've smelled it but if you have, you know it.
Usually it is found in pine-heavy areas late in the summer when it has been dry a little while. There is this smell where the sun has been hitting the wood and the dry pine needles. There isn't any damp in the air. It is fresh and crisp and very sweet. Almost overwhelmingly so.
It smells like summer and camping and all kinds of goodness to me. I know near to this place good kindling for a nice fire is to be found. No amount of cologne purchased in any fancy store will ever smell as nice as it did yesterday walking through the woods of southern New Hampshire. Even if Derek Jeter feels the need to market it. They'll never catch this smell.
And yesterday was full of it, and I am still smiling because I remember how wonderful it is.
Yesterday would have been the perfect camping day. I felt as if I should be on the green folding chair with extended foot rest sitting by a small fire at 7pm enjoying the last vestiges of the sun slanting horizontally through the pines while Doug cheffed up something for dinner over the flames and small Coleman burner.
Sigh. It felt like geocaching, it was geocaching. And it was good.
We got home semi-late last night and our neighbor came and invited us for a swim. We haven't seen much of her lately, we've all been so busy. So it was nice to go jump in and chat and have the boys play. By 9pm Geoff was wiped and put himself to bed rather quickly.
He's still fast asleep at 7:30, so that is one tired boy. He is usually up, eating or finished with breakfast, and asking if it is too early to go dribble his basketball right about this hour. So it is nice to let him get some extra sleep.
If he's not up in 15 minutes I'll get him up. In the meantime, I'll gladly take him to camp late.
Yesterday morning my mom called me to let me know my uncle Buddy down in Florida passed away. He'd cheated and beaten back death a few times in the past couple of years. I didn't really know him. He moved away when I was rather younger, and I never really felt like I had much of a relationship with him.
My dad had two brothers who did this. Herbie and Buddy. He had a sister who moved away to California, who now lives in Arizona. Left behind were my dad, and his two sisters Mary and Esther, and his brother Jimmy who passed away in 1992.
I always was very close to Mary growing up. I feel like I don't know her at all now. And my aunt Esther had been close to our family for a while, then wasn't, and then moved in next door to my parents where they were living in NY so the past several years she's been a staple in relationship. When I was little my uncle Jimmy drove a delivery truck for Newsday and I remember he always brought us boatloads of school supplies every year. He also teased me relentlessly. In a lot of ways the teasing said I love you. Because the moving away to Florida and never communicating with my family the way Buddy and Herbie did didn't say I love you.
My sister is really good at staying in touch with people in the family. I'm proud of her for that. And I'm glad someone does.
My uncle Jimmy's ex-wife Margaret also passed away this weekend. I was incredibly close to her when I was little. I really loved her a lot growing up. When she and my uncle Jimmy split up, I totally lost knowledge of where she was. Like I said, my sister is good at keeping in touch, and she and Margaret reconnected a couple of years back but to no really substantial chick-flick movie like end.
I was not really broken up or otherwised consumed with a burning desire to be in touch with the dying. I feel as if the past 30 or so years they've been living their own lives apart from our family, so their own lives can take care of their dispatching from this plane.
Is that callous? Cold? Empty? I don't think so really. It is what it is. And it makes me ponder more deeply what the ties of family are.
People are dropping like flies around here this summer, and it has nothing to do with the heat.
That's about it. I meant to get this uploaded and published this morning but Geoff turned out to be a little copy monkey. Yesterday Jess refused to get out of bed, and told us that she just wanted to sleep. Why do we keep harassing her? Why do we keep making her go hiking.
So today Geoff decided to see if that'd work for him. It didn't. He was awake, just unwilling to get out of bed. He has started his woe is me mantra a bit early "Summer is almost over, it'll be no fun anymore, I have to go back to school in three weeks..."
In trying to convince him that he needed to be up at at them (who's Adam? He asked me) he wasn't buying my arguments that one must seize the day and get out of bed in order to live life. And just because his sister is a pain and fights with us about getting out of bed does not give him license to do so as well.