If it's almost September, we must need new school supplies...

Ah, the smell of new loose-leaf, freshly sharpened pencils and new markers. It brings back memories of not only my own childhood but my children’s childhoods too. 

Doesn’t seem that long ago that our oldest child started school. Four years old, with braided pigtails and a brand new Little Mermaid backpack.  She’s still in school, but now it’s graduate school for her master’s degree. Her backpack is from MEC and although the Little Mermaid has long been replaced by real marine creatures, I can still see her sunny face as she headed out that first September morning.  

When our youngest child went to school, he too had a new backpack and sunny grin but of course, no braided pigtails. He did have a fresh back-to-school haircut that provided a nice white line between his summer tan and his newly shorn head. His backpacks changed each year too – Star Wars, Power Rangers, whatever the current trend was at the time – but his sunny grin was the same every September.

I am taking a class this fall so the one who gets new school supplies this year is me. While I do have a laptop, Netbook and iPad, there is something about the smell of real paper whether it is notebooks or loose-leaf that strikes a chord with me. It just isn’t school without new pencils, a brand new sharpener and a clean notebook, just waiting to be filled with knowledge, scribblings or whatever takes my fancy.

Some things never change…now I just need to pick a backpack. :-)

Sam’s and Hot Soup…

Been feeling lousy all week. Not sure if it’s a cold trying to start, the flu or just a case of being a little run down but every one of my 2000 body parts (according to the Lever soap commercials!) has ached since Sunday. Not getting worse nor getting better, just holding the same level of lousy.

Today’s remedy was hot soup at Sam’s, suggested by my sister. Seriously. Sam’s is a small cafĂ© on McLeod Avenue, open only during the week. They make delicious homemade soups, decadent salads and a London Fog latte to die for (even when made with soy for those of us who may be lactose intolerant). The atmosphere is homey and the welcome genuinely warm.

The soup wasn’t the chicken soup recommended by 2 out of 3 moms for a cold but it was a hearty rib sticking split pea and ham, accompanied by a whole grain bun and fruit salad. Gently coating my sore throat, warming the cockles of my heart (I presume you can say cockles in mixed company?) and generally nurturing my malaise and my spirit all in one shot.

Sunshine poured through the picture window, people on the avenue bustled by busy with their own lives and I meandered over my fragrant broth, inhaling wellness in every mouthful.

Sated and replete, I strolled back to work. My body parts still ached but a little less loudly.

Sam’s and hot soup….a sure remedy for what ails you. Sunshine, even on a rainy day.

A leaf fell today...

As I mowed my lawn, I noticed that one of my trees had dropped a few leaves. We’ve had some cooler weather especially at night and I wonder if the trees are starting to think that fall is coming already.

Or maybe, the tree was just experimenting and not really ready to lose its leaves yet. Just a trial run to see if it could do it properly when the time came.

Whatever the reason, it stopped me in my tracks and gave me pause. Our summer has gone so quickly this year it seems and the hot days have been fewer than usual. Don’t get me wrong – rainy summer days have their place too. But long hot sultry days smell like summer, feel like summer and cling to our memories like summer. Warm skin, cool drinks, light breezes teasing our tangled hair.

Can it be almost over already?

I sure hope not but I’m worried that it might be.  A leaf fell today…

The Dance of the Dragonflies

Today was another of those perfect Alberta summer days. Heading to Chickakoo Recreation Area, we enjoyed more than two hours hiking along the trails, up and down the hills and around the ponds, lakes and marshes. The sky was deep blue, the sunshine bright and the odd small puffy scout cloud drifted across the sky before disappearing below the horizon.

The air was ripe with the sounds of summer. Small groups of fellow hikers passed, their conversations floating on the breeze before melting into the dense green foliage. Runners with their dogs breathed by, their light steps in sharp contrast to our hiking boot clad feet. A couple of people on horseback trotted slowly, allowing their mounts purchase through the muddy areas, the odd snort from the horses mingling with the steady clop of their shod feet. Birdsong was everywhere and the distinct call of the loon added to the ambiance of the adventure.

Afterwards, we sat by the water eating our lunch. Have you ever noticed how much better food tastes when eaten outdoors? The delicious flavours mingled on our taste buds, filled our hungry stomachs, soothed our thirst and satisfied our senses.

Dragonflies guarded our picnic, keeping mosquitoes at bay and providing a variety of dances for our viewing pleasure. Never lingering long enough for a photo, they dipped and wove, soared and hovered, staying close but never invasive. Their wings shone coppery in the sunlight on their shimmering green, red or orange bodies. We were mesmerized by their beauty and captivated by the moment.

When we were done, we rose and with a last look at the lake, we made our way back to the van.

A few dragonflies accompanied us on our walk and then flitted away, dancing to their own music into the sunshine. Shading our eyes, we watched them depart before heading home with a sigh.

A simply perfect August day.