Tuesday, August 15, 2017


The humidity is rising again. It's heating up, even as dark clouds continue to dominate the heavens. Inevitable storms will come and with them the noxious bugs will swell with satisfaction.

Oh! Have I been reading too many news reports lately? I really am referencing the weather here...

Well, it could be worse. As I survey my flower beds, I think that this season has been kind to them. (And I pick off some spent flowers while I'm at it...)

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(Can you see the frog? Hiding in the green of a lily throat...)

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Breakfast -- all smiles again!

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And then I go to pick up Snowdrop.

Oh! The tractor is plowing down the fields where the cranes were feeding! Are we chasing them away? We're so good at giving, then taking away!

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At school, I inquire about one of the teachers who has been out all week. Tomorrow is my last interface with the staff there, as Snowdrop will be finishing her year during my absence and in September she moves on to an older grade range, with a new set of teachers. As I explain to the teacher who is there today that I'm leaving tomorrow, she asks -- where are you going? And I answer -- well, first of all to Poland.

Snowdrop hears this exchange. She looks at me inquisitively. Are you going to Warsaw, Gaga?

A+ for knowing that Warsaw is in Poland!

Yes, but not today. Today we are set to have an adventure!

I tell the little girl that the pool is not in the cards for us. I know she would like it, but I have to get her home earlier and the pool always pushes the nap into the late afternoon hours. I offer her the playground.

She's okay with it. Surprisingly, she chooses to push the swing, rather than be in it herself.

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A few steps on the climbing structure, but she is a bit apprehensive. Some older guys with disabilities are hanging out here today and despite my reassurance that they mean no harm, she is one who steps aside when she feels the physical play around her is overly boisterous.

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I offer a pause at the coffee shop. She tells me -- I want to stay outside.

I can't leave her alone at the table! But she is adamant. I walk in, backwards, staring at her all the while. She really tests my comfort level with her longing for independence, for being a big girl.

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Since I will be taking her home today (rather than to the farmhouse), I propose a detour. There is a place not too far from where she lives called the Pope Farm Conservancy. For the past couple of years it has offered something special -- a field of sunflowers to admire. They're in full bloom this week.

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It is unquestionably a great photo opportunity and you'll find many many people -- families especially -- enjoying the beauty of the golden landscape.

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The Conservancy is, of course, more than just the sunflowers. An old oak grove, a restored prairie -- all these are open to the public as well.

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And Snowdrop, ever optimistic about her capabilities, forges ahead on one of the trails.

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Hold on little one! Let's take in the sunflowers first!

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It's a beautiful world, isn't it?

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(This bee surely thinks so...)

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Eventually Snowdrop does wear down. But we are close to home and she knows that it is home right now: this wonderful yellow house with the big blue door and her toys, cats and comfy play spaces right inside.

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Later in the evening, Ed and I go out to eat dinner with a delegation of his work colleagues (from overseas and from the Madison home base) and it is a lovely evening, a cordial one where everyone is well intentioned and polite and I revel in this time away from reading newspaper headlines and news analyses because that world is so bleak right now and my own corner of life is so sweetly kind, productive and full of hope for an even better tomorrow.