Trees and Bees

This evening I went outside to take a picture of our apple tree, which currently has 77 billion little apples on it, and just before took the photo, a friend texted me, saying that the National Spelling Bee was on.

YES.

I did take a picture, then I ran inside and talked into my remote control to turn the tv to the spelling bee. The first result was on ESPN3, a Zoom type situation with 16 boxes with a different kid in each of them. I couldn’t tell if they were watching the bee or this was an earlier stage of the bee or whatever. I finally asked my friend which channel it was on, and she said ESPN2.

When I got to that channel, they had declared a winner, but I got to see the confetti explosion and the immediate post-bee interview.

It was amazing. The young lady was incredible. Made history. From the five minutes I saw her it was easy to see how cool she was. A bright personality. I’ll have to catch a rebroadcast of the bee soon.

I’m glad they had it, even if it was six weeks later than usual. And that they were safe during the event. And it was good they didn’t have it last year.

What a fun night.

Camping, Sort Of

This past Wednesday through Friday we had a reservation at a campground near a lake. It had been somewhat of a summer tradition to go there. Last summer we obviously didn’t do it, and I was excited to plan another camping trip when the world got a little safer.

Except our state is in the middle of a drought. And the lake at the campsite was all but dried out. Whatever water remains has developed an algal bloom, so it’s definitely not safe. And Z would still have eyed the lake and asked to go swimming, and she’d be upset that we wouldn’t let her.

It did rain Thursday, but not enough to compensate for all the dryness. The earth was still grateful, though.

So last week I canceled the campsite reservation. And yesterday evening, after the hike, I pitched the tent in the back yard. Z loves the tent.

The three of us and one of the dogs slept in the tent last night. The temperature was neither too hot nor cold, and because Z wore herself out with hiking, she went to sleep relatively quickly.

She woke up and continued to play inside the tent.

I love our back yard.

From Instagram June 3, 2019

I wrote this two years ago:

Carla loves gardening and working on her yard. If you’ve seen her yard you know the love and great care she puts in the beauty she creates. I’m no gardener, but for the past couple of weeks I’ve been out in our yard, pulling weeds, planting flowers, meditating, crying: devoting that time to her. Yesterday morning I was pulling weeds, Z was running around in the yard, while Reilly was working on the obituary. It occurred to me that not only is this yard work–this beautifying a space–a good way to remember Carla, it’s a quiet way to feel a certain communion WITH her. It is sacred.

For the past couple of days we’ve been working hard trying to rebeautify our yard. I really love remembering Carla this way. It crossed my mind today while pulling weeds when we first found out she was sick, I wanted to ask her about all her gardening secrets. Which I didn’t do. And I didn’t think it was appropriate as her time here shortened.

I took some video footage of some of the greenery in our yard and put it to music. A modest tribute.

Privileges and Joys

I work from home: privilege.

We live in a privileged school district: privilege.

We live in a single family home: privilege.

We’ve come to a point where we don’t worry about whether we can make the mortgage payments: privilege.

The house sits on a plot just under 1/4 acre: privilege.

The back property line happens to adjoin a five-acre farm: joy.

We watch baby farm animals grow up: joy.

I wandered my back yard this morning. Watched the horses. Captured some photos of mid-spring. This afternoon I weeded the front yard for a little while. I like yard work quite a bit, but it does my allergies no favors.

These blossoms dropped from the cherry tree above it. Pink sprinkled in green. I sort of wish I could eat it.

Z loves to scatter dandelion fluff around the yard. For this reason roughly 62 trillion dandelions have popped up in the grass. I honestly don’t mind, because they make our kid happy.

I would suppose not worrying about our dandelion-weeds is also a privilege. Watching our girl play with them is a joy.

P.S. We’re fully vaccinated over here. Go get vaxxed or wear a mask and come hang out with us!

Living Close Enough to Nature

Utah is beautiful in the spring. It’s undeniable. Watching flowers bloom and color return to the world invigorates my soul.

One of our cherry trees has reached full bloom. It’s starting to drop its petals to make way for leaves and fruit. Those petals on the ground almost look like snow. Spring here tends to be temperamental and unpredictable. It could still snow, but the vegetation will keep insisting it’s spring. And I will only agree with that idea.

Our apple tree has started to bud. The fruit won’t show up until the fall, but the flowers right now sure brighten my day.

I built that swing and that bench last spring, as the overwhelming desire to do something with my hands during the pandemic and isolation prompted me to, well, build stuff. We’ve enjoyed sitting and swinging under that apple tree this past year. We’re gonna do a lot more of it.

The view of the neighboring farm always calms my spirit. I mean, look: the big field, the red barn, the (blurry) horse. To think I wouldn’t be living here long-term. Utah has succeeded in changing my mind. So grateful we live here.