Summer’s last sigh

We went on a little walk this morning after breakfast on the edge of the Flathead River. It’s a place we walk every now and then. Not really a hike, though we do pick our way over rocks and across sand. It’s more of a place for a stroll, then for standing beside the river to reflect. To think about whatever issues are consuming one’s life right now, or to shove those issues into a compartment in the mind and simply be instead. I always try to think only the big thoughts beside that big river. To listen to the water tumbling over rocks and refuse to allow the petty thoughts do their own tumbling about.

River bendDidn’t succeed in thinking big thoughts today, though. Instead Big Country and I talked over what we are always talking over, our business. Turning over what we’re doing in our heads, trying to do better. Sometimes it all feels like we’re trying to squeeze water out of a stone, blood from a turnip. But we talk about it still, because it’s our livelihood and we’ve got to keep striving, trying, working and working and working to make our business succeed.

But walking by the river helps. It’s where I can let the stress that seems all-consuming lately fall off my shoulder for a few minutes. Where I can listen to the sound of the water on the rocks, watch the play of the sun on the ripples, notice that the tired green leaves on the aspens are fading golden. Autumn. It’s almost here. It’s the last day of August, hurray!

River skyTomorrow we’re headed up the North Fork for huckleberry turnovers and a hike by our most favorite lake, Bowman. I’m going to try again with thinking those big thoughts, which to me really just means opening my brain to all that is happening around me, mapping it with the flashing of my neurons. Listen to the water. Feel the wind. Watch my son marvel at all these new sights and experiences. Forget about the stress and longing and fear waiting for me at home.

BridgeI’m ready for August to be over. I’m ready for summer to end. It’s been a long summer, full of telling other people where the best hikes are instead of hiking them myself. It’s been a summer of hard, hard work. I am not writing this for sympathy. I am merely observing that I feel like those aspen leaves look: tired, faded. But on the other hand, perhaps I’m turning golden too. My favorite season of the year is just around the corner. I’ve got to believe that good things and easier times are coming with it.

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Autumn decorating on the cheap

Oh, poor neglected blog, I’m sorry I’ve been absent. Just the usual excuses, as usual. One of my goals this year has been to neglect my blog less, because if I want people to read it, I need to post more often! So I keep telling myself to post more often and then I don’t. My lack of posts recently has been due to the fact that I don’t have much to write about (unless you all find government permitting paperwork absolutely fascinating). I also always try to include photos with my posts because I think posts with photos are more interesting, but perhaps I should loosen my standard a little and include more “just writing” posts here and there. Many of my favorite blogs have frequent “just writing posts.” Hmmm. Decisions, decisions. But enough musing-while-blogging and onto actual blogging.

Anywho, I thought I’d put up a quick post about two easy autumn decorating tips on the cheap. And I mean cheap. FREE actually. I have a hollow glass lamp (from Target … I covet the Pottery Barn ones, but the Target one was much more in my budget when I bought it a few months ago), which is awesome because I can fill it with seasonal decorations. For autumn, I filled the base with red and yellow leaves I picked up from trees in town.

That’s free decorating tips number one. I’m sure you also have lots of trees dropping leaves where you live (well, unless you live in the southern hemisphere or somewhere that palm trees are predominate). Take a stroll down the block and pick up some pretty leaves. You can do as I have done and fill a hollow glass lamp, or put the leaves in a glass hurricane or mason jar. Put the leaves behind glass in a frame. Get creative, but do it on the cheap!

Decorating tip number two is to find some bark from a tree and wrap it around a candle. As you can see, there is birch bark around the candle on my nightstand. I found the birch bark in the forest nearby on a hike. I’ve seen in magazines lately that faux birch candles are pretty popular. But if like me you don’t have $20 to spend on a faux birch candle, you can fake it. If you have woods near where you live, you can easily pick up some fallen bark and wrap it around a candle to the same effect!

Edit: As a friend pointed out, I’m faking a fake candle with something real. LOL?

To every season, turn, turn, turn

We’re having a gorgeous autumn in Montana. These photos are from nearby Butte. Shawn and I went on a picnic last weekend to a small state park on the Jefferson River. We had a lovely time and enjoyed driving through canyons bursting with color.

Here’s the river, winding its way through the canyon, the railroad tracks at its side.

We’re supposed to have a rough, cold La Nina winter full of snow. I hope autumn decides to stick around a long, long time. It’s just so beautiful! Just about everyone I know claims autumn as their favorite season, and I’m no different. The way the air smells — full of calm, crisp air and burning leaves — and the scads of baked goods involving pumpkin are my favorite parts. Oh! And it’s soup season again. I love soup.

Shawn and I had such a lovely weekend. Living apart is very difficult, especially after living together for nine months. I’m dreading the separation that comes after we get married. We don’t even get a honeymoon until next year, which positively stinks in my book. One thing can be said of our separation: we cherish each other and we don’t take each other for granted! Our picnic was such fun. We also went to a neat specialty foods store near his apartment that is beyond amazing. The wine selection alone is enough to make your had spin. I couldn’t resist and picked up two soup mixes, two bottles of wine, a jar of jam, some natural cleaning solution and some cheese. All will be mightily enjoyed in the weeks to come.