We’ve had a stellar Summer here in the banana belt of Montana; and as it fades now into hues of orange and yellow and red, and cools into nestled hot tea memories, I want to celebrate it once more. Call it pre-pre-winter self-preservation. Or maybe pre-post-summer reaffirmation. Either way, please bear with me now while I wax nostalgic for the last three months…
Our amazing weekly gathering of kids and moms (and often me) continued to assemble throughout the summer, though the above was the last one inside for the season. Since then, we’ve been meeting at one of Missoula’s great playgrounds or splash-decks, or at the river, we even once all went to our local water park “Splash Montana” together. At this moment, as I write, the play group is enjoying the nearly complete remodel of our favorite little kids’ park, savoring the what remains of the delightful outside days…
Bella, Xi and Echo perfected their Lego robots this Summer. That is, Bella designed, and Xi and Echo learned to copy exactly, the ideal robots. They always make a whole family of them. That’s my favorite part.
Here are the grandparents with 2/3 of their grandchildren, and Bruce and Dolphene just before the anniversary dinner for the miniature giant whale and his glowing dolphin bride.
We played on the beach. Then we would run up to the pool. We’d eat. We’d rest. We’d repeat.
Bella made something in the sand everyday. This is her dredging the moat to add more to that drip castle.
Then we headed back home, both saddened to be leaving and excited to get back to the brief, precious Montana Summer. Little did we know, a situation had brewed while we were away and blissfully unaware. Vanilla, the hamster, had escaped from our pet-sitting friends. We searched high and low. We put out little traps and snacks to try and find her.
Another of our favorite Summer pastimes is playing at, on, and in the river. Whether it’s the babbling Rattlesnake Creek (above), or our daily spot on the Clark Fork River, we make sure to get some on as many days of the Summer as we are physically able.
This is where we came nearly every single day that we were in town this Summer. Maybe we only had time for a quick dip, or maybe we had half the day, but either way we were at this spot. The girls collected rocks, made mounds of sandy mud, played “Native Americans”, befriended logs, made faery boats, and worked all Summer digging a hole to China — it was about 9 inches in diameter and a foot down, at least, by the end.
We also got to do some fun camping this Summer. Here Echo is playing on the “Homemade Teeter-Totter” she fashioned from a half log and old plank, while we were at Big Pine. It was an inaugural trip for both Echo, and our new tent, Eric.
We went to our favorite cafe, Butterfly Herbs, a lot too this Summer. Our trips there are more measured in the river months, however. We stay just long enough to get our needs met (whether they be culinary or social), and then set out again swiftly to make sure we get home and ready and leave again for the river with precise timing to meet the warmest part of the day. Still Echo did find time to do some magic with the pen tops.
Of course, Butterfly, again. We celebrated there with our community of friends who go there regularly. Then we went to the carousel where the girls rode the ponies 1,000 times, before we bike-paraded to — you guessed it — the river.
Here we met another group of friends with families, and we all laughed and played at our favorite river spot, then had birthday cake that Natalie had made the night before and biked to the river while the bike parade was at the carousel.
While in Portland we went to Pickathon where we spent the days listening to music, playing and relaxing under this dining tarp behind the booth where Emily sold her dresses, and checking out various kid-oriented activities.
I don’t know where they found it, or how it came to be there, but Bella and Xi discovered one of our games at Emily’s house after we got back from Pickathon. They had wandered off and become “too quiet”, so I went to peek in on them and found them playing one of their favorite games with the cards. It’s a unique version of Charades (I think they made up) that involves picking a card, acting it out and trying to get the other person to guess which one you’re pantomiming. I like it because they were so “grown up” about it all, quietly getting set-up and with such precision, and playing this very subdued game all on their own. It seemed as though they were in many ways suddenly quite mature this Summer, and it was fun to see what came out of that.
There were also some fun visits of our family members to Missoula this Summer. And we also celebrated my birthday with amazing skill and utter delight (don’t worry, I had a birthday tree, too). And every day was savoured for the grand, fleeting privilege that a warm, brilliant Summer day in Missoula is. And though our Summer is now punctuated by the end of river season, the increasingly brisk mornings, and the beginning of school (this year more than any other), I feel I can rest assured — we didn’t miss a thing. And I am so thankful.
I hope you all had great Summers too.