Tuesday, June 20, 2017

summer solstice

In Madison, the sun rises today at 5:18 and sets at 8:40. It is the day of summer solstice (which occurs here at 11:24 p.m.) -- even as you can't say it's the longest day, as tomorrow's day length is identical.

I love these longest days! I'm not inclined to meditate (though I believe in its value), I don't really think about the passage of time, but on this day -- well, I kind of do a little of both. Meaning of life? Bring it on! I have time for you today!  Snowdrop is away, involved in other family activities. My day is vast and completely open.

When the day dawns cloudy and cold, I prepare breakfast...

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... I do the garden walk...

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... all the way to the young orchard, where we may salvage a handful of cherries...

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... and then I retreat to the love seat and take a nap.

Wow. When was the last time I did that just a few minutes after breakfast?! (Ed is on the couch next to my love seat and I swear he does the same. But then, Ed naps often and without warning.)

By noon, it looks like it may be a warmer day after all and the rain most definitely is passing on to the east.

My idea is that we should do something outdoorsy and totally us. Without doubt, a hike would fit the bill. As would a visit to a local farm.

But which farm?

I remember Jamie and Diane's invitation to visit their mushroom farm. (The Ramseys are my favorite market mushroom vendors -- their shiitakes, oysters, and lion's manes are incredible!) I call them -- no answer. Well okay, let's just drive in their direction (some 45 minutes north of us) and if we fail to reach them, we'll hike on a fragment of the Ice Age trail that passes nearby.

(We're by the mighty Wisconsin River...)

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(... and we follow some of Wisconsin's most beautiful rural roads...)

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I never do connect by phone with the Ramseys, but we show up on their doorstep nonetheless. And they are the kind of people who will never turn you away. Their attitude has always been that customers are friends.

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We get a wonderful tour of their mushroom world: the shiitakes...

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... the oysters...

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All of it.

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They fill a bag of the best of the best for us. No payment. Just their generous impulse.

Time to leave. We cross over the Wisconsin River on the beloved Merrimac ferry....

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... and make our way to one of my favorite segments of the Ice Age Trail.

Typically, this is a 90 minute hike, but we take more than two hours.

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We are there alone, but really not alone: dragonflies, butterflies, bees and birds keep us company.

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The pines add the fragrance...

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We make a point of sitting on the three benches along the way.

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This, to me is the perfect way to celebrate this long and beautiful day.

We make our way back to the farmette...

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Evening. Sunset. It is my great thrill that each year, it repeats itself: the coming of spring, the lengthening of the day, the arrival of summer.

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Day is done. Another year behind us, another year before us. Another countdown to the longest day of the next year.