Friday, June 29, 2012

Solstice Adventures

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Photo-op just after 8pm on the mountain, showcasing a friend's water bottle from Ohio, which we deemed to be a worthy companion up the trail.  

Last Wednesday marked the end of our gains in sunlight with over nineteen hours, and sunset just before midnight--long after Curtis and I had gone to bed. The day started cloudy, and given the recent abundance of sunshine I worked diligently to catch up on tasks abandoned: filling out forms, mailing bills, working on an online course I started back in January. By noon I decided I was ready for a break and set to making some fresh bread. The time required for a nicely rising loaf is more than I can typically offer during the school year, and I relish the luxury of hours to knead and rise and shape and rise and bake.

Curtis got off early, just as the sun came out, and I faced a dillemma: bread or bike? If went out for the long ride we wanted, the load would be ruined. It really wasn't too difficult of a decision. One of our favorite evening activities in the summer is a long bike across town to a local restaurant for dinner. The route, which is only about six or seven miles, is always full of plenty to see: a moose feasting on fresh greens a few feet off the trail, spotted only as we pedal past and notice we are being watched; a child perched above a tunnel who proclaims "Bagel!" as he threw a bagel at Curtis's back, leaving us laughing for several miles; endless people taking advantage of the local creek, fishing, swimming, or taking in the comfort of its motion. By the time we get home from this trek, sometimes with takeout gingerly wrapped to fit in our backpack, this time having cleaned our plates and polished off a solstice serving of creme brule, we are usually ready to shower and head to bed. These night time adventures lend just enough activity into Curtis's free time, and it's always satisfying to fit them in when his schedule is full.

The next day, we hit the jackpot again when Curtis was home just after five. The sun was shining hot that evening, with our heat wave of over 70 continuing for a sixth day. Determined to fit in a long hike before bed, we grabbed some food and hit the road, on the hiking trail just after six. Three hours later we'd made it up and down a mountain, sore, dirty and thrilled to have experienced two days of sunshine that coincided with a kind schedule in Curtis's work. Two years into residency have been enough to appreciate when weather and schedule cooperate. 

This last week has been a lot of rain, and much more work for Curtis. While I'm ever thankful for the amount of flexibility I have in my schedule to enjoy the hour of clear weather that comes now and then, I also enjoy the permission to curl up inside working on a quilt or reading a book. I still need to get outside a little every day, but yesterday's crockpot of chile after a day of running errands was the perfect pairing with some Olympic trials viewing with my brother and Curtis. In the end, I suppose I like a little of everything--and balance is golden, even in the off-season. 

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