The Quiet Park

Spring has really been taking its own sweet time in getting here this year, which is a pity, because if there’s one thing the east coast does better than Idaho, it’s being green.

In northern Idaho, you get exactly one month of green. The minute May hits, the hills are as lush and verdant as Ireland, and you wonder why in the world anyone would choose to live anywhere else.

And then June happens, and the moisture is sucked out of all vegetation, the undergrowth becomes particularly prickly, and the only thing that stays green are the pines with the tell-tale name.

So I was thrilled when I moved to the east coast and discovered that everything stays green until it goes golden. The trade-in, of course, is the feeling that you are living in an armpit.

All this aside, today was a lovely misty day that really highlighted the incoming greenery, so I hauled myself and my umbrella outside to see the colors.

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The nice thing about a park in the rain, on a weekday, at one in the afternoon, is that you truly have the place to yourself.

And there were indeed signs of spring, despite the slow-going. Perhaps wary of another sudden frost, the leaves were advancing at a snail’s pace, but they were there.

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One started to get the feeling that the leaves were only showing themselves grudgingly.

I didn’t expect to see any animals besides the usual assortment of birds and squirrels, seeing as my closest park is hardly larger than your average Wal-Mart, but I actually ran into a herd of deer that seemed disturbed at my passing.

I felt bad about it, really, because there wasn’t really anywhere for them to go. The park has a lake on one side and suburbs on the rest.

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The straggler who would have been picked off if I were a wolf.

It was very wet out, but I enjoy overcast days. They typically mean I only burn a little.

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I spent a little while trying to figure out how this tree had managed to split and fall so artfully.

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Fungi!

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And speaking of fungus, I don’t know what this stuff is but a poor baby pine was coated in the stuff. I’m always grateful humans can’t grow mushrooms on themselves.

There’s a part of the park with an odd low wall that extends into the lake; something to do with keeping the little bay of water from being disturbed, no doubt. People are always out on the wall; teenagers going to drink or smoke, children trying to look cool to their friends, fishermen who like a little risk. But thanks to the rain, it was empty.

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I didn’t go all the way out because I wasn’t willing to risk falling in to drink or smoke in a cool place.

Back in the park, one of the flowering trees was heavy with large pink blossoms. I figured by the time the leaves on other trees came in, most of the blossoms would be gone.

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There was absolutely no way to get a picture of this tree without also picking up the trashcan on the right. It couldn’t be done. Also, I was too lazy to crop it.

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Very pink. A well-established whatever-it-is.

While I was in the park I went looking for the fairy house I had built some time back, just to see if any part of it was still there, but there was no sign of it. I have no idea if some little girl found the tea set and kept it, or whether they were unceremoniously trashed some time later.

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But I did find some periwinkle in the vicinity. I always wanted to be a periwinkle fairy.

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It was nice to get out. In a month or so it will be unbearably sunny and humid and I won’t want to do anything but stay in my air-conditioned room and long for colder climates, but for now it’s pleasant.

And then, when it’s too hot and humid to function, my employers will take me and the three to six boys to Disney World again because “It’s the cheapest time of the year to go!”

Messy Maxi

I’ve always had a problem with maxi dresses, because the people who make maxi dresses like to assume that you’re a reasonably-sized human being, which I have never been.

And it’s a real shame when you’re a Hobbit with Elvish aspirations, fantasizing about gliding effortlessly down a hallway in a flowing dress without the dress immediately catching under your feet and resulting in a total collapse.

So why I decided to buy a particularly flowy maxi spring dress off of Amazon, I’ll never know.

Actually, I do know. It’s because one of the reviewers described herself as a petite Asian girl, standing at only 5’1″, who decided the dress was perfectly reasonable if you wore shoes with a little height. I couldn’t see the shoes she wore in the picture, but I have to assume now that they were Herman Munster boots.

So I bought this dress off of Amazon, and upon wearing it, discovered that it completely swallowed up my feet and an inch of ground around me. Which meant, unfortunately, that I would have to hem it.

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If I owned six inch heels, this wouldn’t be a problem.

Now, I have a sewing machine, but it’s mostly for show. It’s not like anyone ever comes in my room, but if they did, they might see the sewing machine and might assume I’m a crafty person, when in actuality I have the creativity and sewing prowess of a stick of soft butter.

A stick of soft butter with the inability to create an even new hem on curved section of fabric.

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I started by setting up my sewing machine, a process which took forty minutes because I couldn’t figure out why the bottom thread wasn’t catching. It was because I was turning the wheel the wrong way.

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You would think measuring would help, but in fact, it doesn’t help if you do it wrong.

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I pinned the dress to mark where I wanted to cut, so that there was only a moderate amount of guesswork involved.

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I could make a scarf out of the excess material! I kid, of course. I’d never make this into a scarf, I’d just wear it as-is until it resembled more fray than fabric.

So I inexpertly pinned the hem into place, and I thought I did a pretty good job. And then I tried to actually sew it, and it turned out that I had done quite an awful job, unless my goal had been to create the world’s most uneven hem.

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It looked okay until I realized I was creating a top-heavy hem. Next time I won’t sew so close to the bottom of the dress. Learning!

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The middle part is just the way the dress naturally hangs, I swear.

The end result was mildly disappointing, but I could see my feet again, which was nice. Overall, I find the dress to be acceptable, because you don’t realize how badly it’s hemmed unless you really stare at my feet, and only a small portion of the population would be interested in that anyway.

And to think that my poor sewing machine could have been placed in a loving home.

Spring… Springs

It probably goes without saying that spring is here. You can tell because it’s May 19th, and also because here on the east coast it’s a mild 94 degrees, the way spring is supposed to be on Venus.

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Spring is that important time of year when you can start having staring contests with deer, because they can’t easily see you approaching through the green foliage until it’s too late and they’re forced to watch you for as long as you watch them.

In fact, I’d wager we’re on the verge of summer instead, but it’s important to keep in mind that it’s still spring because otherwise the series of photographs I have in my possession would be for naught.

Every Wednesday afternoon the eldest boy I take care of has a piano lesson at the house next door. This house is on a very pretty piece of property overlooking a lake, with some great big windows to emphasize how spotless everything is because the piano teacherĀ  doesn’t have three to six boys.

So every Wednesday, while the oldest boy was explaining why he couldn’t possibly have practiced that week, I positioned myself in front of the same window and tried to line up my shots. It’s easier said than done, but I came away with just over two months worth of photos, and a vision of exploding spring time.

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I do easily forget how pretty the east coast is from May to November. It stays this way by maintaining humidity levels equivalent to lying in warm jello. I haven’t yet decided if this is worth it.