North Shore.

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Superior gave her all this weekend — one cooing loon, two Canadian border agents, more rootbeer-colored waterfalls than I could count, and three 40-degree nights snuggled like caterpillars in cold-weather sleeping bags and multiple pairs of socks. The mornings’ reward for emerging was breakfast burritos and strong coffee around a fire, which is almost like metamorphosing into a butterfly.

The peace and closeness that came with driving 8 hours north into a land of birch forests and fudge shops were super strong, enough to leave me feeling hollow when we returned. Work has been a doozy. I’m swamped with normal human trouble, the kind that sounds really silly when you’re not in a swirling iron lake state of mind. Somehow, standing by Superior leaves me wanting to jump off the social media train and the major life event train and basically just stay cocooned on a rocky beach as that last layer of wool hiking sock slowly cuts off circulation to my big toe.

There’s something that sets me at ease about the contrast between the immovable, sun-soaked boulders of the beach — where we sat and snacked and watched the sun set — and the constant, sometimes violent wave action. My mind finds its happy place between the frantic motion of work and the gridlessness of maritime time. It’s easy to laugh. At small dogs in sweaters, at a man with a giant belt buckle proclaiming him to be GUS, at kids climbing lighthouses for the first time (“That was scary…but cool…but more scary”). This is the twilight realm that allows roasted marshmallow sessions twice in one night.

That one-day holiday weekend difference (spent beside those wild waves) left me all confused and flustered returning to Real Life, where people are still saying stupid stuff, where vacuuming is a thing, where we have to have a plan for the future. I’m ready, I think. To buy wedding gifts and juggle sources and even keep my dishes clean, as long as I can sneak in more time by bodies of water this summer, completely checked out from the hassle and hustle (just me and C and a canoe rental).

#MM.

Recovering from a freezing/exhilarating long weekend on Superior’s North Shore. Those pine and birch forests and pebble beaches sound like this — lots of percussion and a children’s band:

Mr. Morel.

My grandparents found 89 morels on their Indiana property this spring and shared the bounty. I took a big bag back to St. Louis last weekend, where my Pop coated them in egg and bread crumbs and fried them in butter. Drooling while typing. The end result is melt-in-your mouth, rich woodsiness.

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I saved some back for C and I to share (his first experience) via omelet with Indiana-grown asparagus and gooey muenster cheese, with a side of STL Perennial Artisan Ales IPA. The meal was a tour of the Midwest.

The next night we headed to some deep woods to try to find our own cache. No luck. Just stumbled on some creepy Christian graffiti, a hidden river and a stocky Yellow Lab wandering the trail on his own.

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May flowers.

I still can’t get enough of these, so you’re getting a second helping, too. I’m absolutely gorging on petals here, full to bursting all the way up to my eyeballs (or maybe that feeling is the full-headedness of spring allergies).

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This display is so larger-than-life it feels like it can’t ever end, which is kind of how my summer is shaping up: One weekend of huge life events or gigantic lakes or momentous birthdays or largest-glaciers-in-Europe after another building up to an uncertain but exciting autumn. I’m drawing a life lesson from it. Enjoying it while it lasts, getting my nose all up in it and taking lots of photos.

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May showers.

Headed to steamy, blooming, baby-filled (human + rabbit) St. Louis this past weekend for my sister’s shower. I’ve never squealed so much over adorable floral mini rompers and polka dot blankets. The cute coma could continue for the next 5 years as we lavish Baby June with the collective spoilage of three aunts.

And speaking of spoiling, C has a future in floral arrangements and breaking and entering. Gotta love surprises, sunflowers and sculptural blooms.

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#MM.

My life is one big attempt to seem aggressively unsentimental, so remarks on the end of The Office  set my feelings alarm bell off. Feelings be damned, I started getting nostalgic. I stopped watching about 3 seasons ago, but I came to the  show a naive freshman in college, before quinoa was a word everyone could pronounce, before I’d done anything remotely dangerous or independent or exhilarating — unless you count that solo week at economics camp in Ohio.

So yeah, the wave of nostalgia briefly got to me while discussing the finale with some high school friends this weekend (who are now married with a new house — that’s how long it’s been since we started watching The Office together in our dorm rooms), and I took the opportunity to rediscover favorites tunes from that year. I was 18 and Jim and Pam were Jim and Pam.

Spring.

It’s been a long winter. It’s mid-May and shade is finally a thing again. Tree shadows surprised me today. Their canopies have been expanding during the past week like sponges over neighborhood roads, casting coolness and comfort at noon on this first 90-degree day. Yesterday morning I was scraping frost off my car windshield — seems like Mother Nature had too many mojitos this weekend, too.

Even driving for five minutes with the windows down, arm propped out the door, led to that familiar, prickly pre-burn feeling on skin. The body doesn’t know what to do in temperatures that mimic its own. There’s no barrier anymore. I’m all pores, leaking into the world and letting it inhabit me — bottling up the scent of lilacs and mowed lawns, the sweet smell of ice cream cones and rich hot tar.

C and I, in a moment of lightheaded fantasy during a break from work, discussed becoming trees. We were walking in the woods behind the office at the time — not a totally out of left field thought. He would be an evergreen, but I have dreams of flowering in the spring. Can you imagine a body made of blooms?

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#MM.

Prepping a playlist for a baby shower this weekend. I’d like to pass on all those silly games, get a few mimosas in the guests and get a dance party started with “Diane Young.”

Pups + plants.

Brucemore, that big ol’ mansion in town, hosts a sale of goodies from its big ol’ fancy gardens each spring. Nothing like starting a sunny Saturday with fuzzy purple flowers, chocolate mint starters and a wrap skirt that’s totally inappropriate for the windy weather.

IMG_1036IMG_1055It was also a fruitful time for dog watching. Get a load of this chunk of pug/pomeranian goodness and this obedient old gent:

IMG_1051 copySuccess! We do, indeed, ♥ horticulture. I was so pumped on the plant sale adrenaline, I put my thumb to reviving C’s ailing basil plant. Surprisingly, it worked. The little guy popped back, Lazarus-style, overnight.

They’re going to make a TV show about my plant doctoring skills: A grumpy horticuluturist, seemingly impossible to solve cases, sexual tension and uncontrollable zucchini plants. Instant classic.

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#MM.

New sunshine-y tunes for the first week of the year I can tell a leaf’s a leaf on the front yard elm tree, not just a fuzzy figment of the imagination on bare branches. It’s the first week without snow in the forecast since roughly December 13. It’s the first week after-work beach trips to Lake Macbride seem like a real possibility (one of these steamy days). And this week, staying up late dancing to these jams is sounding real good.