My summer is shorter than most, it certainly is shorter than the calendar summer. The hottest days, the most humid afternoons-I leave those for someone else. My summer happens in little single-serving portions that I save like ketchup and mustard packets until I have enough for a meal. I assemble my summer from various parts until I can look back and say, “this is my summer.”
I don’t spend summer hiding indoors, if you live in northern Minnesota and do not use summer to your advantage, then you will spend the winter at a disadvantage. I take note of weaknesses created by winter and repair or re-engineer them. That said, I do try to plan my work so that it can end by every afternoon at three-thirty.
Cattle this year have been a good experience, without hoof trouble or sickness. The pasture is typically productive but this year it has been outstanding. Regrowth within the first week of cattle removal has never been better which is something that makes me feel like we always have enough for the next go-round. My trips to see the cattle have been full of little chunks of summer that fit together nicely. Birds pop out of the grass frequently as barn swallows constantly dart in out as they eat mosquitoes. There is something about the cows, the birds, the grass and me peacefully occupying space that just feels good.
I never watched the sky very often, until this year. I started a new career after I retired and discovered star-watcher Bob Hultgren. Early mornings at work, Bob walks out of the building a few times. I didn’t know what he was doing at first but found out that he was gathering his own summer memories, pre-dawn, from a sky full of planets and stars. Now I too enjoy Venus shining brightly, or Mars glowing in the distance. It’s become something, other than coffee, to enjoy on my way to work. Elon Musk occasionally launches large groups of low-earth orbit satellites that are fun to watch, although they also appear a little like an invasion from outer space.
The first full mile of the county road from our farm is full of butterflies. This means we must drive about 10 miles per hour so as not to hit the fountains of Monarchs that spray from the grassy shoulder of the road. It adds time to any trip outside of our Covid bubble however it is time well spent. The Monarch colors and seemingly random movement are like a medium-toned firework show without the bang.
Finally, my summer of 2020 will include snippets of golf cart rides with Lisa. The cart is quiet so we can talk and discuss our plans for the future or just talk about our day. Quietly driving past the rabbits who hunker down in the grass or watching the cats play without the effect of our influence is really a window into the world around us. It is all quite nice and, when assembled piece by piece, make up my summer.