Posted tagged ‘cool mornings’

“Walking is a virtue, tourism is a deadly sin.”

September 15, 2013

Fall weather has settled in for the duration. The days are pleasant, the nights cool, even cold. In the morning, the house is still night cold so we go outside in the sun on the deck to get warm. When I last went outside, Gracie was lying in the sun on the lounge chair.

Last week was busy for me with something every day. I drove over 400 miles. I wasn’t happy. Considering I usually drive between 20 and 40 miles a week you can understand why. I like my sloth days, and I haven’t had one in a while. This coming week four days are already booked so I’m keeping the rest of my week’s dance card empty.

My friends have already landed in Ghana and are probably at their B&B. I wished them a safe and wonderful trip through teeth gritted with envy. Their plans aren’t solidified. Bill said they’d be leaving Accra in three days for parts unknown though I know Bolga will be on the list. He said they hadn’t yet made hotel reservations anywhere. I chuckled to myself. Who makes reservations in Ghana?  Up country has plenty of hotels and not a lot of tourists.

Most people I know who visit other countries do so in places with flush toilets, hot water and air conditioning. The very thought of aiming at a hole in the ground is horrifying to them. Good aim is the difference between a tourist and a traveler. I have stayed in absolutely gorgeous hotels and in some of the seediest places you can imagine. Once I stayed at a brothel. I didn’t know it was until all the knocking on doors and all the men doing the knocking. I didn’t sleep much that night. In a small hotel in Columbia, I swear you came out of the bathroom dirtier than when you went in. The hotel at the Iguazu Falls was pure luxury. It was right at the falls and had huge rooms and amazing food. There was a garden walk with parrots in the trees. There was even a casino. It was not my usual hotel. In Lomé, Togo I spent two nights at a wonderful hotel as a treat for myself  before I moved over the Peace Corps Hostel. The hotel had air-conditioning and hot water and a delicious breakfast. It’s where I ate barbecued lobster on the terrace. The hostel had bunk beds.

On my first trip back to Ghana we stopped at a roadside chop bar (restaurant sort of) for fufu. I had to go the bathroom so I walked around the corner wall to the hole in the ground. My aim wasn’t as good as it used to be, but it got better the longer we traveled. By the time I left, it was perfect.

“Education is learning what you didn’t even know you didn’t know.”

September 9, 2013

Every morning is now the same: cool in the house from the cold nights while the outside air is warm with sun. Last night I woke up chilly and added an afghan to my bed. It’s not yet comforter weather, but we’re getting closer.

The worst is yet to come. Soon it will be shut down the deck time, my final acknowledgement that summer has ended. I’ll leave out a couple of chairs as I am ever hopeful for warm days and maybe enough sun to make me lazy and tired and ready for a nap.

Summer seemed to stretch forever when I was young. I was never mindful of the days passing. I’d ride my bike or walk the tracks or be at the playground throwing horseshoes, playing tennis or softball. By bedtime I was exhausted, and sleep came almost as soon as I closed my eyes. When my birthday came in August, I knew school wasn’t far away. The trip to the shoe store sealed my fate.

I was always excited the first day of school. I liked school and loved learning. It was the getting up early part I didn’t like. My mother always made breakfast. I was a cocoa drinker. Everyone else drank tea. My mother used a china tea-pot. It had flowers on it, and it always made the table look just a little bit fancy even without a tablecloth. We had eggs or oatmeal in the winter. On the warmer days we just had toast and cold cereal. I always wanted to be the first one to open a new bottle of milk so I could scoop the cream. I was a dunker and dunked my toast in the cocoa though graham crackers were always my favorite. It took skill in knowing exactly when to take the graham crackers out of the cup before the end dissolved. I was an expert.

My friend from up the street would knock at the back door so we could walk to school together. My mother would hand us our lunch boxes, we’d grab our school bags and off we’d go.

” People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things about us.”

May 19, 2013

The day is again beautiful with that deep blue sky and plenty of sun. The air outside has a morning chill which I think will get warmer as the day gets older. Gracie has been outside all morning and barking every now and then. I went out with her while the coffee was brewing and saw nothing to prompt the barking, but I’m keeping an eye out for a coyote. My friend saw one twice yesterday morning, and the second sighting was right by my house. None have been around lately as the rabbits are fat and greedy. Two were eating in my garden yesterday. When we have coyotes, we have no rabbits or skunks.

Next week I’m going to buy the flowers for my deck planters and the herbs for the window boxes and the herb garden. A few herbs are up already: thyme, oregano and chives. I need lots of rosemary, one of my favorite of all scents. I try to find summer recipes which call for the fresh rosemary, and I love rubbing my hand up the stems and then smelling the rosemary on my hand. Even the dead rosemary from last summer still in the window boxes had that great smell.

While I was driving the other day, all I could think of was how beautiful everything is. I saw the contrasting greens of the trees, the leaves finally out and unfolded, flowering bushes in so many different colors and a bright sun glinting through all the branches. The lilacs are out. I saw white and the usual purple. Mine too have flowered, but they are a deep, deep purple, a color I don’t usually see. My violets and lilies of the valley have flowers. Both plants came from my mother’s yard, from her back yard. Like her lilies, mine have taken over. The side bed is filled with them. I put a few in the backyard and they came up this year and have spread a bit. They can have the whole yard. Gracie won’t mind.

Having memories of my mother in the garden every spring gives me joy.

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