Thanks to global warming, or at least an overactive La Nina pattern, summer started sometime around April up here. That's very unusual for New England. Unheard of, actually. 

And, it has been a scorcher! But, here we are in the middle of August and we can see and feel hints that summer will soon depart. Some nights are well near 50. Flowers and crops that should fizzle in late August or early September, have already started to buzz. Soon, the water will be too cold for a dip, and the breezes will take down the first leaves of autumn, as a warning.
 
Until then, enjoy this little taste of summer in western New England. We've had gatherings with family and old friends, grandkid birthday parties, indoor and outdoor concerts, garden parties and garden tours, daily trips to farmstands for corn and tomatoes, and luscious  solitary swims at the end of the day. We even sat for a spell in a cottage ornée in Pat's gorgeous rose garden. 

Wish summer could go on forever, but I know better. 

I hope you've had a good season, doing whatever it is you wanted to do. That's the way it should be. This is not the autumn of our lives, but the summer. Remember that and dress accordingly. 

 
 
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Peaches, plums, apricots and early apples! It must be late summer. Hmmmm.

What could be better than sweet, drippy peaches and yellow plums over homemade ice cream, after some Silver Queen corn-on-the-cob and heirloom tomatoes. This is the time of year we live for.

Enjoy it while you can. Nippy nights have started to turn the trees, here and there. You-know-what is just around the corner.

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My gift to you! Take a visual dip in Vermont snow melt on a very hot but breezy day. Please turn your audio dial down (or off) to avoid the static in the audio feed caused by a strong west wind. Enjoy! 

 
 
It's true, summer is really, really here, with a vengeance. It's been wickedly hot in New England the last week or so, but we have hope the universe will settle down and go back to normal. It's a good time to go for a dip, take a long ride, visit a country fair or smell the roses. 

Here are some photos taken in and around southern Vermont/western Massachusetts recently. 

If you haven't had a chance to take a vacation, sit back, relax and take one now. Enjoy!

For a virtual dip in the lake, go to One-minute vacation

 
 
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Pickles, fruit, veggies, quilts, sheep, cows (one getting a shower), fried dough, food stands, bees, milk bottles (remember them?), a 781-pound white pumpkin AND the Flying Wallendas!

 
 
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September 1 has come and gone, marking the unofficial end of summer. It could go on, but somebody flicked the switch! Night temperatures have dipped down into low 40s, cooling off water and land, if not the inhabitants.

Blessed rain came just in time, but nothing dampens the spirit of those determined to wring out everything they can from what’s left of the warm days of the year.

Now is a good time to catch an afternoon on the road or on the water. Take the kids to a downtown street fair, a ballgame or out for a hot dog at the drive-in that soon will shut down for winter.

Fruit growers have started bringing in their crops and cleaning them up for town and county fairs that go on, rain or shine.

Here are some shots taken in southern Vermont, western Massachusetts, Boston, Washington DC, Lake George and Long Island, NY.

 

 
 
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Adams Reservoir, Woodford, VT
Water holds a mystical power over me, more today than when I was younger. I swim, I kayak, I soak in a hot tub, I take showers whenever my joints cry to be soothed or my soul needs an energizing boost.    
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In Vermont, ponds and even pools are cool, almost cold, even on the hottest days. Once you’re in and moving, the crisp temperature is all you could ever ask for, but don’t go in one toe at a time.


I have access to outdoor swimming pools and a dozen ponds or reservoirs in two states, so I carry gear in the back seat of the car that lets me swim on a whim. Rubber-soled “lake shoes” keep my feet safe from rocks and muck. If the sun is high, I wear full-length rashers to block UV from my ultra-sensitive skin and wacky immune system. Kids gawk at the sight of an old lady in surfer garb, but I just smile and, on the way out of the water, I comment on how the waves suck at this beach.

Sometimes I don’t even swim, but  just go out up to my neck, letting let currents pull me from side to side. If I need to build up strength in my severely arthritic lower body, I cross country ski in the deep stuff, or bicycle back and forth across the pool. Then I do side stroke and back stroke, both very meditative forms of swimming.  

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Green River, Halifax VT, Spring 2010
A doomed Piscean, I’d rather be IN water than not, but if I’m on land, chances are I’m looking at one body of blue stuff or another. Our walls are filled with artwork I’ve collected over the years, most of it involving something aqueous. After all, I spent some years living and working on Long Island, New York, where I wrote a book about life on that (very crowded) Atlantic sandbar. 

My husband loves boats, so we’re drawn to coasts and marinas when we travel. Up here in the mountains, we can always find streams or lakes to play in or photograph, any time of the year, frozen or liquid.  

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Lake George NY, August 2009
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Monterey Bay CA, May 2010
Here are some photos and video I took in and around the Monterey Bay Aquarium this spring.

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Pacifica CA, May 2010
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Tuna at MBA, May 2010
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Leafy Sea Dragon at MBA
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Moon Jellyfish at MBA
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Black Sea Nettles at MBA, May 2010
For mesmerizing video of jellyfish and sea nettles, go to the Monterey Bay Aquarium's own video at
http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/efc/efc_se/se_jellies_mv_blue.html

If you want to swim with the fishes without getting wet, go to the MBA kelp forest exhibit and sway with the water plants and animals to hypnotic music. Try not to go when it’s busy, like we did. Too many people making too much noise, but click on the arrow and enjoy the show anyway. See the shark?
For more in this series, click on Swimming as Meditation in the index on the right.
Also, see Cari Shane Parvin's Zen of Swim at http://www.usmsswimmer.com/200511/zenofswim.pdf 

 
 
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Can any place be greener than Vermont in early summer? Maybe Ireland. Maybe not.

Here's a peek at what we see from the deck and windows.
Today, after a hot spell, we got up to a steamy 73 degrees at 3 p.m. A crisp Canadian high moved in and pushed all the muggy air out. The weekend should be stellar, perfect for the Fourth of July.

I stopped off at a farm stand yesterday afternoon. They had lettuce, beets, radishes, strawberries, blueberries and CORN! Everyone is talking about it. No one remembers ever seeing corn in time for the Fourth of July in New England. But this was not a typical year. We had an early thaw followed by persistent rain, with just enough sun to get things started. Now, we’re reaping the benefits. Who says there’s no global warming?

Below are a few seasonal sites in and around southern Vermont/western Massachusetts. Photos were taken yesterday evening and this afternoon. If you look carefully, you'll see a pileated woodpecker making salad-bowl sized holes in a tree.

The bears are out and about, but we haven't seen any yet. Lots of other people have. One friend stepped out on her front porch to shoo away a bear from her bird feeder. He responded with a deep growl, and she high-tailed it back indoors.

 
 
I may have found paradise, and it is in a kayak on a Vermont pond in late summer.

 
 
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We just got back from three days in a waterfront cabin at Lake George, New York. It belongs to some cousins who invited us up to share the view from their screen porch. I can’t tell you delicious it was to sleep in front of an open window, listening to the waves slapping the shore.

Here's a taste of Lake George (click on any photo to enlarge): 
If you haven’t had a chance to get away this summer, why don’t you kick off your shoes, smear on some sunblock, lean back in your chair and enjoy this 2-minute vacation to beautiful Lake George NY. Speakers on!