Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Summer's end...

I have been sitting here in front of this screen several times the past week.  I have a post just waiting to come out, but once again, I can not get it out of my brain and down into my fingers and on to the keys.  

Last Saturday I made an angel food cake and took it and a bag of frozen blackberries to Donna’s house.  I had never been there before, and I had the opportunity, and the weather was good, so Off I went. It was her 39th Birthday, and Since she did not want anything, I baked her a cake!  Drizzled some key lime glaze over it and stuck some candles on top, loaded it into the car along with my telescope that I am giving to her for awhile, and headed out!

I had a bad feeling about getting on the interstate, so I took all the blue roads.  (William Least Heat Moon called the back roads, blue highways and wrote a wonderful book about the people he met on Blue Highways.)  I had to get on the Highway to cross the bridge, but once I did, I scooted off the hiway and on to the back roads.  I headed East along the water, following Similk Beach Road, and then along the water to where I got misplaced.  I then found Hiway 20 just West of Reservation Rd, so I hopped on it and followed it along until I hit the back way into Conway.  

I had an ulterior motive about using that road, as it is all along the farms and fields and road side stands.  Snow Goose Produce stand was wall to wall tourists, so I passed that one by and all the others were closed, either sold out already, or not in business any more.  The fields all looked like they were being picked, as there were quite a few workers in them.  None of them were offering their products to the public though.  I was just tasting some fresh Cauliflower too.  DARN!  I winded my way around Conway and over to Stanwood, trying to find the back way into Arlington and Donna’s place.  I took a wrong turn and ended up on Pioneer Highway instead of Marine Drive, but it worked out just fine.

I was on a road that I had never been on, and it followed the edge of the Stillaguamish Valley, and around barns and farms and houses that I had never seen.  The day was warm, and the light was a bright end of summer hazy light.  Corn was as high as an elephants eye, and the hay bales were being stacked under the rafters of  century old buildings.  This road went right through some farms, right across their front yards, and the farmers waved as I rolled on by.  Evidently used to the tourists that paving the cow paths years ago brought to them.  

I ended up in down town Silvana, right in front of the Viking Lodge.  A place that when I was a teenager, was the hottest spot in three counties.  There was a dance there every Saturday, and the sailors from the base on Whidbey, and the Airmen from the Base at Paine Field, all went there to meet girls from the surrounding communities.  It was a really vivid moment of Déjà vu!   I would take my six pack of orange crush and the others would take beer, and guess who got to drive home?  I had not been there in over 40 years!!  Not much had changed!  I knew where I was then, and headed over the Interstate overpass, to Smokey Point Blvd, and down it to Donna’s house.  

Coming back, I decided I would try to take a different way back but still stay off  I-5.  I turned off of Smokey Point Blvd and headed West on Lakewood Drive, around Lake Goodwin, Which I had never seen before, and then on to Marine Drive, and along the water to Warm Beach and then Stanwood again.  I turned off of Fir Island onto Fidalgo and turned into La Conner and followed the road on through the Swinomish Indian Reservation, then back along Similk Beach and up to the Pass.  

I love to explore like that, and just let my mind wander, as I drive.  There is so much to see, when you take the time to look, and observe and ponder on what you do see.  I saw that the summer is almost over, the light is coming from a different angle now.  Sooner than in past years it seems.  Trees are turning colors and loosing their leaves earlier than usual.  There is a Fall smell of  drying hay in the air, and it is mixed with the high resin smell of the fir trees, that have gone a long time with no water.  

As the sun was going down, I noticed a crisp feel in the air.  The nights are getting cooler now, bringing to an end the unrelenting summer dryness.  Along with the coolness comes the nitetime fog layer that creeps over everything, keeping a really low profile, as if it was trying to sneak up on you.  The fog wets all of the trees with life giving moisture, which in turn tells those plants that live on, that it is time to start storing up that energy and get ready for the long cool Fall and Winter.  We don’t have it as bad as most do, but we still get ready, and the deciduous trees lose their leaves, and go into hibernation.  The Evergreens start dropping their cones in readiness for their turn at trying to become a tree.  The squirrels are busy running up and down the fence lines stuffing cones, and nuts and seeds into their mouths and stashing them anyplace they can.  (they usually never remember where they put them though).

A Month ago, I was looking out the front Window at the setting sun and the long afterglow, and it was 10:00 PM and still light  enough to see.  Now a mere 28 days later, the sun is down at 830, and it is dark at 9:00.  This will continue until Mid December when It wont be light until 8AM and dark again at 4PM!  

I will miss the long easy days of Summer.  I love the late evenings, and I really enjoy the long early mornings.   Most of our grosbeaks have moved on, and the hummingbirds are gone now.  The Robins have pulled back, but they do not leave just stay in the trees. The Goldfinches are headed down south already, with just a few of the younger ones still hanging around.  

Lola and her ilk, are still here, and The grey squirrels are around, but staying away.  The Owls are hooting and learning how to claim their own territories, and they will each have a tree of their own before too long.

Life is winding down for the summer.  I feel the need to pull in and hibernate myself.  I am thinking that as soon as the tourists leave, I may splurge and go to the coast for a weekend.  The winter rates should be in affect then, and I could just take a good book or two and Sadie, and just go VEG!  It is time.

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