Sunday, September 6, 2009

I'm Back!

My dear blog, you have languished far too long and I am so sorry to neglect you. I have been away from home and hearth as is the August tradition in Washington. We ventured out to see the world. But in order to leave, I had to accomplish double the work in half the time so that my absence wouldn't be noticed. Thus, the week away was equivalent to four. Because of course, when I came back I had to redouble efforts to make up for the lost time away! And, as I have over the past two days achieved the high status of Domestic Goddess Priestess, having done ten loads of laundry, the shopping, the cooking, the sorting of mail and papers, the doctors' appointments, the dog grooming, the moving of furniture and the dusting of dust bunnies, I am ready now to putter in the garden. Tomorrow, Labor Day, is the much anticipated return. I won't be gardening, however, I'll be cleaning up--pulling weeds, whacking back, mowing and otherwise clearing detritus. It's a mess.

But then again it really isn't. It's a natural paradise where seed and soil and rain have crafted a devil-may-care landscape and I must say, it's still quite lovely. Tonight, as I write this a gentle rain is falling, certain to make the soil more manageable and my mosquito friends all the more plentiful.

So, where was I? In the photo above, I have trained my binoculars into the meadow that is located adjacent to the Wawona Hotel, built between 1876 and 1918, in Yosemite National Park. The day we hiked the meadow, a four-mile loop around its perimeter, we took our time and breathed deeply of the peculiar scents. I could have sworn I was picking up the acrid smell of an artichoke after it had been boiled to a delectable appetizer. Not really a pleasant aroma, but something kind of almost addictive, like the scent of rubber cement.

I wanted desperately to know the names of all the delicate plants in the field. And I carried with me reference cards that identified the wild flowers, the trees and the birds, but naturally none of the designated wild flowers on the card were in bloom at the moment I was traipsing through the meadow. So I could only admire and not catalog. The trip was so beautiful and restorative. We also hiked among the giant sequoias in the Mariposa Grove on an exhausting climb that began at the lofty elevation of 5,000 feet and ascended on a gentle switch back trail to 6,100 feet. The thin air truly taxed us and we unfortunately had to descend without seeing the entire trial. But nothing topped the day that we climbed the steep mist trail (no mist in August, thankfully, it would have made the trail treacherously slippery) to the crest of Vernal Falls. There were some 160 steps carved into the side of the granite cliff and we stepped up endlessly, over, and over, and over again, panting and sweating and worrying that we might not ever reach the top. We rented bikes in the Valley and pedaled our way around the entire eight-mile bike loop, stopping to admire whatever caught our interest. At one point, the girls and I parked the bikes and plunged into the cool mountain spring-fed Merced River. Feeling reckless, I let myself sink so that my head was completely submerged. The water was so chill that the hairs on my head and skin seemed as if they would all drop from their follicles. I emerged breathless and thrilled. Incredibly, the hot sun instantly warmed and dried me. We also traveled the distance of the park on Rt 120, the winding high-country, west-east road, and slipped out of the far eastern park entrance for a quick trip to the toxic salty, but exquisitely beautiful, Mono Lake. And on our way there, we sampled the delicious fish tacos served at, of all places, the Lee Vining Mobile Gas Station.

Once back home, I hastily did the wash and repacked for two other short trips, one to Chicago and the other to Columbus, Ohio. Now, just as I l was once looking forward to all our summertime travel adventures, I relish staying here, happy to putter. The Putterer

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