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Monday, September 10, 2012

Summer's Last Skinnydip

And no. That is not a photo of me au naturelle, floating down Farmer's Hall Creek. But it is a photo of the sort of day we had yesterday - glorious early autumn, when the humidity drops out of the picture, skies are vivid with color, sun pours its golden light onto your bare skin and a breeze fluffs your hair as you stroll down the lane to the mile point.

Whenever BD and I take a Sunday Stroll I like to take my camera along. I'm always on the lookout for a photo opportunity - something that captures the mood of the day, something unusual, maybe even something I would want to draw or paint. I snapped this shot thinking it would be a fun painting but I see now that the buildings are so far apart they fail to form a subject - at least one that's a fitting counterweight to that amazing sky. And so. It ends up here, decorating the blog.

Yesterday was truly glorious and I couldn't wait to get outside. Our usual stroll is down the lane and out to the mile point but yesterday we went all the way to Robert's. There, the creek empties into Occupacia Bay in a narrow deep channel that comes up close to the bank, with a sandy bottom edged by tall reedy grasses. Once, long ago, lighters from the steamboats would pull in here to unload drygoods in exchange for farm produce. It was never a bonafide landing, just a drop point along a low spot in the creek bank. But it is a lovely place from which to step into the water and float a bit. If the weather is at all sunny and the temperatures above 75 I am unable to resist and have to follow the dogs ... now the only dog ... into the cool inviting water - and yesterday it was both sunny and above 75. Perhaps only a few degrees, but enough to make the leap.

I don't know why swimming after Labor Day is such an impressive thing to me - since it's not that hard, not at all uncomfortable or unpleasant. Last Friday was so hot a dip in the creek would have been a treat. It's possible - though unlikely - that we'll have More Hot Weather even into October. But I doubt I'll get back into the river again before next May. It's just the way we are. Our mindset is on Other Things. Autumnal things. Cold weather things like new sweaters and unfinished knitted garments that beg to be stitched up.

I pulled out my Brica sweater and tried it on again. The shoulders are still pointy but I swear I think that blocking will flatten the sleeve cap enough to make it look alright. And I've knit half the neckline -which would leave only weaving in of ends to do and it could move into the Finished Object category. And so I shall - and photograph it to share with my eager readers. Just think - I bought this yarn in 2004 as a birthday gift to myself. How appropriate that I finish it in my birthday month - and only 8 years later!!! Which, of course, means I may give my imagination permission to fly into the boughs of fancy and start dreaming about Casting On.

Speaking of birthdays - I have been somewhat reticent about mine own, this year. I am still happy it's on its way. I'm still planning on Not Cooking that day - and I am sure it will be a wonderful birthday. I just seem a little less festive than in years past. Perhaps it is because I am coming off such an August. Perhaps it is because my horoscopes all say to 'Ware the 29th of September when a CRISIS will strike. I hope it is not because it is a decade birthday and I will be turning 60, though as I type this I suspect that it does have something to do with my more quiet enjoyment of the annual Month of TheQueen.

It is not that I regret or resent the passage of time. I do not feel like the fun is over - that all the good adventures are behind me.  I am, in fact, looking forward to a lot of wonderful things. It is just that - a number of the old familiar things I used to look forward to each autumn; each birthday; each flip of the calendar - have failed, this year, to excite me. For the first time I did not buy a new notebook as soon as Labor Day weekend was over. And I am not too curious about adding to the wardrobe this year. I don't have that lust to drive into the city and peruse the shops ... although that may be because the stores are so empty now - mere display cases for their on-line siblings.

Most of all, though, the old lady who looks back at me from the mirror is such a surprise that I'm left wondering who I am now. She is definitely not someone who is going to wear gladiator booties with her thigh-high split skirt this fall and her incipient jowls mean she will not be donning one of those Andean ear-flap knitted caps - even though she could make one and she thinks they are adorably cute. Fear not - for this doesn't mean either, that she will be wearing hideous cropped pants with sneakers. Most likely she'll continue with her somewhat conservative wardrobe in the familiar autumn colors that she loves best.

I think this contemplative state is also brought on because my work world is changing. And not just my day-to-day world but that greater world of Virginia librarians. Where once I was one of the young things or one of the insignificant things at these gatherings - now I am one of the old guys and there are so few of us left that I hardly know anybody at the workshops and conventions. I haven't even anyone to room with and will sleep in luxurious splendor, alone in my hotel room this fall.

And this is not a bad thing - there is something rather delightful about having a hotel room all to myself. But there is no denying it is a different thing - a change - and it requires some thought and examination to decide where to put it in the grander scheme of the Life-0-TheQueen.

Ah well. I did not mean to wax melancholy with this talk of time's inexorable march into CHANGE. I'm not melancholy. Just thought-filled. It must be because I am going to a funeral today and bidding farewell to a particularly sweet Hoskins cousin - a married-here like myself - husband to perhaps the most beautiful, on both the inside and the outside, woman. Her kindness and sweetness and grace and beauty amazes me. I wonder if she ever looked in a mirror and asked that reflection who she thought she was. Ah well. Today is not the day to ask her - but there may come a time when it is.


I shall attempt to drag this blog post back to something less somber by leaving you with a hint of Things to Come. Tomorrow there will be pictures of a SURPRISE. And to close up the birthday thoughts - I did come up with a list of gifts for BD to give me - and they are all art gifts - to help me on my quest to become a good drawer. I am not quiet yet ready to confess that what I want to be is an artist - but I don't mind admitting - I want to be able to draw - and to draw well.

At Tara

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