Sharing a beautiful place

It is the time of the year when we keep a close eye on our animal neighbors. Last evening, I came up from the basement to find my wife out on the deck standing quietly. I could see a couple of does lying in the tall grass of the neighbor’s yard. Everything was cool and green. We had had a little shower of rain so all smelled fresh and nice. I whispered to my wife, wondering if she had seen a fawn. She had not, but my whispering created enough of a stir that the does stood up. On walked a bit stiff legged at first upon standing. Then I saw it. There was something on the edge of the mown grass in our yard. It was the right color, but I couldn’t quite make out what I was seeing. I went for a camera with a long lens while my wife went for the binoculars. And, there it was, a rabbit! We had to giggle. We are so eager to see the fawns. We know that if we catch a fawn early on - when it first stands or just a bit later - we will have a sense of where to look until it becomes more confident and its mother can move it bigger distances. We also know that if we don’t see the fawn on the first day - usually because of the mother’s behavior - we won’t see it for a week or more after it is born.

There are different ways of measuring the passing of the seasons. Scientists speak of the distinction between meteorological summer, which is our current season, and astronomical summer, which starts on June 21. Then there is the school year - and we are definitely on summer vacation in our schools. In the church, we usually think that our summer programming begins with Pentecost, which is tomorrow, but our church school is already on summer programming, the preschool is out for summer break, and the church office is running summer hours. The choir is on its summer break and there are lots of other indicators that summer has arrived.

The weather has warmed up around here, too. I’ve been resisting using the air conditioner in my car - it is an annual ritual with me. I drive around with the windows down, just enjoying the fresh air. Eventually, it will get so hot that I’ll give in and start running the air conditioner, but I like to wait. I notice that so few people have their windows down as they drive around town. It is something that i really enjoy. I’ve been that way for a long time, which might explain why I had to have skin cancer removed from my left elbow last summer and the dermatologist always takes a very careful look at the arm that I leave hanging out of the car window. At least I’ve gotten smart enough to wear long sleeves most of the time since the episode with the spot that had to be removed.

The frequent rain showers have combined with the warmer days to make all of the green plants in the forest grow like crazy. Our lawn seems to be constantly in need of mowing and the grass is growing quickly. Fortunately, I’m a bit more disciplined about mowing than the neighbors to the immediate east and west of o our house, so at least our lawn isn’t quiet a long as theirs, but it will be a chore when I mow. I could mow today, but I am waiting until Monday because I will be one next weekend at the Conference Annual Meeting and I don’t want to have it go too long between mowings. Once a week will have to be sufficient.

We’re counting down to the visit from our son and his family. With three children they don’t get here all that often, so it is a special treat to have them coming this summer. Their trip was planned to coincide with grand camp at Placerville, so we’ll get to attend with two of our grandchildren. Passing down the camping tradition to our grandchildren is an important priority for us.

We are hoping, of course, to be able to how our grandchildren a deer fawn or two when the arrive as well. Of course they will like the rabbits and turkeys, and we’ll be able to show them deer, but a baby or two would be extra special.

There is too much in the hills to show our grandchildren everything in a single week’s visit. We’d love to take them to Bear Country and Reptile Gardens and Storybook Island and Dinosaur Park. Then, of course, there’s the Custer State Park Game Loop and a paddle on Sheridan Lake. A trip to Sylvan Lake is always fun and there are plenty of hiking and walking trails that would be interesting, even to the littlest one. We won’t get everything done in one visit. Our hope really is that our grandchildren will recognize that we live in a very special place and that we are happy with the life we have in this place. We certainly want them to have reasons to come back and visit again and again.

Every place we have lived has had its share of natural beauty. We have always been eager to share our home with family and friends. We have been fortunate to be able to share. Our experiences with our own children have taught us that in today’s world, people travel great distances. Since our two children don’t even live on the same continent, it seems likely to us that as they grow, our grandchildren will have experiences in distant places. Sometimes we look with envy on families who all live in the same area, but we know that we raised our children for adventure and exploration and that we wouldn’t want to hold them back.

This summer, however, is a good summer because we will be together both her and at their home. And the relationships we share are stronger than the distances that divide us. And that is the most important lesson of all. Love transcends. Love is not limited. Love never dies.

Copyright (c) 2019 by Ted E. Huffman. I wrote this. If you would like to share it, please direct your friends to my web site. If you'd like permission to copy, please send me an email. Thanks!