Mary Beth Writes


The last three suggested S words are Summer, Snow, Smoke. Sounds like the seasons we now have in Wisconsin.

How’s your summer going? I bet it's zipping past and you are as weirded out as I am that we are about two minutes from August. Where did the summer go? I have felt this wistful way every summer since I was old enough to know how much First Grade was going to cramp my style.

I walk around with two seasons in my head. Do you?

One is the project, agenda, and to-do list of the day I’m in. I need to make that phone call I’ve been putting off. We can have the rest of the tuna salad for lunch. We’re taking a grandkid to Cave in The Mounds tomorrow; will it be cool enough today to open the windows so I can make banana muffins for him and do I even want to? Oh Lordy, there’s a load of laundry in the dryer. Of course, there is. Nice day for a walk if my sunburn from yesterday doesn’t slow me down. Possibilities and obligations churn through my head like a water wheel running an old-time mill.

Summer is all the images we automatically see because those images have been hawked at us all our lives. Lakes, beaches, picnics, watermelon, bike rides on country lanes. You know.

But then our lives are real and summer is also the eye-popping electric bill, and weather sirens blaring at 10PM (last night) because hail and gale force winds are near. (No damage here.) Summer is driving kids to a beach and then sitting there with a friend having 79% fun and joy while 21% of your soul wants to be at home reading an adventure novel on the sofa.

We love the idea of seasons. We love thinking about awesome times with family and friends at that Up North cottage because the memory isn’t tinged with vacuuming sand and laundering towels and rolling up the kids’ sleeping bags and finding someone else’s overcooked underwear in a corner.

We love snow in our hearts because it’s snowmen, hikes in a silent forest, cardinals at the birdfeeder, big happy (irony intended) family dinners. Not, well, all that other stuff snow is. I promise, I won’t list it. You know.

We don’t even mind smoke because it's what we get with evening campfires and s’mores. Or that lovely pungent sweatshirt we wore when raking leaves weeks ago. Smoke is ribs and smoked gouda on crackers and the Platters singing Smoke Gets in Your Eyes. Not the smoke from from climate disaster forest fires. 

So how’s your summer? Are you having summer or are you reveling in memories of other summers? Sometimes we don’t even know where we live. In our skin? In our memories? In those novels on the sofa?

Out my window right now a huge Black Sailor (you call them turkey buzzards) is high in the sky, elegantly soaring on leftover winds from last night’s storms. I wonder what it’s like to learn from experiences, as wild creatures do, but to never really live anywhere but in the season one is in.

If you make a summer memory today, let us know in the comments so we can share it for a moment.

I took these cloud photos last night a couple hours before the storms arrived.

And the one that looks like a dog.




It’s a good thing it isn’t snowing! Can you imagine shoveling the sidewalk in this heat? Also, I can’t get the image of “overcooked underwear” out of my head.

MB, Your pics sure capture your theme. Beautiful photos and memories—. Sure hope your sunburn heals quickly!
Mary Beth's picture

Thanks. Thankfully, my skin doesn't hurt, it just looks like I am evolving a lobster neck. Fabulous memories from yesterday. A quieter day today.

Love the pictures! You captured all the right thoughts of summer. My Monarchs are a big part of my summer memories!

Thank you. LIVING WITH summers OF PAST...
Mary Beth's picture

Thanks! Yeps! There were so many good adventures back there that it would be a waste to not revel in those memories now.

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The Lies We Live By


Aristotle wrote a lot of important stuff, very little of which I’ve read. But this Aristotelian idea is cool and I don’t know why we are not taught this in high school. It helps untangle the importance of what we read and watch.

Fat Tuesday & Valentines Day & Ash Wednesday (says it all)


I think today has to be a Three Things. You probably don’t even know I have Three Things scaffolding in my secret writing toolbox of organizational tools, but I do. Sometimes it’s how thoughts present themselves, you know? Things to say, but not for too long.

(Now that I've finished and read what I wrote, I guess this is five things but some days, in our expanding universe, the math just works this way,)

Successful & Failed Artists


Last week I finished reading Woodcutters by Thomas Bernhard. (I discovered this book via Librarian of Burgos Instagram because I am her fangirl now.)

If you like to read a book that has a recognizable plot of sympathetic characters moving forward through a problem to a solution– you will likely not enjoy this novel. Heck, I’m not sure if I ‘enjoyed’ it.

Animals of Winter


Last week I invited you to submit pictures of animals who are visiting your life these days.

The Republic of False Truths


I set a goal for this year to read one translated modern novel every month. I’ve been following ‘Librarian of Burgos’ on Instagram and this woman keeps hyping and explaining books I’ve never heard of, which intrigues me mightily. I think she might be a reader’s reader. Anyways, she is European, has transcendently luminous skin plus several master’s degrees and a doctorate in history. Sometimes she even recommends books that are not, sadly she says, not yet translated into English. Cracks me up.

Who's In Your Backyard?


It’s been a wowser of a wintery week. We had the deep and blowing snow last Friday which turned into the heavy-as-concrete snow on Saturday which turned into a deep and frozen crust on Sunday - and here we still are. Last week’s snow still limns the trees and branches. A foot of snow still covers every roof. When I walk (why yes, I’m still going out for strolls) it’s a matter of life and limb navigating the jagged piles between sidewalk and street. I do use my “Alpine” walking stick these days.

Change is coming but not today.

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