|My very white feet and Lake Michigan.|
So where have I been? Well, this summer has been...shall we say "eventful?" I guess it's not over yet, but I'm going to go ahead and log my 3rd-grade-ish back-to-school essay early. So, read on if you've wondered where I disappeared to -- or if you just want to hear about my crazy summer.
To begin with, my cousin got married June 2 in Escanaba, Michigan. My mom and I left to drive up there May 29 -- my sister, who was to be a bridesmaid, couldn't afford to miss that much work so she flew up later and then home the day after the wedding. We were on the road for two days and had some interesting results from my iPhone's directing us through some two-lane highways during construction season in Wisconsin. Still, we made it -- and even had fun listening to and singing along with music and then listening to Lamb (by Christopher Moore) on audiobook. The drive up was scenic and uneventful. We got to Michigan a few days before the wedding and did what we could to help, but mostly visited -- my aunt and cousin had most things under control by the time we arrived.
|The driveway leading away from the house in the woods.|
|Mom's broken finger -- guess which one!|
The night before the wedding, Mom was trying to carry some blankets down from the loft to take outside to one of the trailers (it got pretty cold at night) for some friends who had just arrived. She had gone up and down these stairs many times and decided she knew where each one was without looking. Yeah, I'll bet you can see that this isn't going to end well, can't you? She fell forward and in trying to catch herself, broke the tip of her finger. It was instantly swollen and she was white as a sheet. We quickly decided that a trip to the emergency room was in order so I drove her into town to the hospital where she got a prescription for Vicodin and a brace to wear on her very swollen, purple finger. I think we got back to the house around 1 a.m., less than 12 hours before the wedding.
The wedding was medieval-themed and very do-it-yourself. She even made her own wedding dress, though my aunt did the embroidered embellishments on the trim. They made planters and grew their own flowers. The groom and his best man even made chain mail for themselves and the groomsmen! (In fact, they're starting a business, Peasant Approved.) They wrote their own vows and conducted a sand ceremony -- which is like a unity candle, but less worrisome if it gets knocked or blown over. Our 87-year-old grandfather played the processional music on his keyboard. The ceremony itself was brief partly because the couple wanted it that way and partly because it was a cold and drizzly day. My mom (an ordained minister since before I was born -- for just such an occasion, I'm sure) officiated, giving some sage advice in the process. The reception was held in the groom's parents' back yard where a large cardboard castle had been constructed. This was a great surprise for the bride and groom, who may still have it (disassembled) in their garage. Overall, despite the weather and Mom's broken finger drama, it was a lovely occasion.
|My mom and I at the reception --|
and my uncle imitating sasquach in the background.
|A pretty butterfly in Michigan that posed obligingly.|
|Some pretty iron work in a lighthouse I climbed in Michigan.|
|This is smoke (at least for the most part), not clouds.|
As seen from just south of Cheyenne.
But partway through Wyoming we started to see the smoke. It was a menacing plume that made the sunset a brilliant orange. As we continued to get closer alarm grew when we could barely see any of the familiar skyline over Fort Collins. We got home safely, though exhausted, late June 9. We decided not to unpack the car, save for our overnight bags. My dad had left town that day (or the day before, I forget now) so the house was quiet. Within half an hour I had my best friend's mom (who's basically my second mom) calling to see if we were okay; I assured her that we were, then went outside to watch the glow from the fire reflecting on the smoke as it billowed over the ridge. I went to sleep in my own bed, thankful to be home, only slightly worried about the fire, and slept soundly.
|The glow from the High Park Fire as seen from my back deck.|
|The smoke turning everything orange,|
and my dad's truck filled with food from our
refrigerator, bound for the dumpster.
|One of the many firefighting helicopters flying over the sunset.|
|One of the many magnificently fire-inspired sunsets.|
|The red line of fire retardant -- and the scorched earth to the right.|
|From the top of the lighthouse, I'm not|
ashamed to say that this descent scared me.
And tomorrow the Olympics start! Whoo!