Don't get me wrong...there will be more ice cream nights. However, the sun will not be as warm as it was that evening, the feeling not quite as carefree. The desire for ice cream treats will change...hot cocoa treats will become the request. Carefree will change to cozy. It's all good.
Continuing with our farewell party into Saturday, the official last day of summer.
We spent the morning in my sisters garden, digging up vegetables before the freeze comes later this week. Coming home with a box full of deliciousness and fresh inspiration for a week of cooking.
That night we had fresh corn on the cob, homemade potato chips from the taters we dug up and burgers I stuffed with jalapenos and banana peppers from her garden. It tasted like a summer day.
Before the BBQ we took the paddle board out for a final spin. I didn't think we'd get an opportunity to do this again. However, the temperature inched up to the eighty degree mark and I had an itch to squeeze in every last second of summer so we decided to go for it. The pond was deserted except for us and one other family that eventually strolled in. The girls played in the sand, we took the board out and spotted a turtle and a muskrat and soaked up the sun. It felt a little somber like any good going away party should.
In the end there were no tears at the final good bye. Just a feeling of gratitude for the memories and times we had. We'll keep in touch. She'll be back next year.
Sunday we welcomed in fall. Instead of resisting I welcomed it. We stayed in bed and watched a movie with the girls, skipped church and had a leisurely breakfast. The air felt cool, but the sun was shining bright so we headed up Hyalite for a hike. I love fall hiking. The leaves are changing and it feels refreshing. It took me awhile to be okay with the smell of fall. It holds some negative association with me, and not just because it is leading to winter. With both girls I had horrible morning sickness smack in the middle of fall...I can't help feeling a little nauseous still when the crispness hits the air. It also takes me back to the days of Matt hunting. When he first moved to Montana he was so into hunting. Every fall he would be gone for days each week. This continued through the first part of our marriage and into having babies. Gone while I was in the midst of the hard baby days. The days when no one was sleeping well and neither of us knew what the hell we were doing or what this parenting thing was all about. It was hard having your teammate gone during that time. Now we have this parenting thing figured out and it is easier to handle on your own...but back then I struggled with him gone. I resented hunting season because of it. Matt no longer hunts, but fall can occasionally bring these feelings back up. As the years have passed, those negative memories are fading and I find myself welcoming fall with open arms. Enjoying all it has to offer.
We went for a hike to History Rock. It's a large rock that for years people have been carving their names in to. It's quite a sight to see...out in the middle of a nature this rock full of names, dates and pictures.
While he carved I thought back to six years earlier when we had made this hike. Two little girls in hiking packs, making our way up to History Rock for the first time. The hike feeling much longer than it's couple of miles because of the weight of carrying an extra body. I thought for sure our names from that hike would be long gone...faded away or carved over by someone else. I was looking at the hundreds of markings and suddenly this popped out...
MJ AJ AJ LJ. Six years ago. Yet it feels like yesterday. I can picture Matt standing there carving the letters while I tried to entertain a baby and keep a toddler from trying to climb the rock. Carrying kids back down and finding that Layla had soaked through all her clothes and the hiking pack because in a bad mommy moment I realized I had forgotten to change her diaper that morning. We have come so far. This time the girls blazed up the trail...noticing wood peckers in the trees, picking up pine cones and squashing mushrooms. One day in the future we will go there again and look for our names in History Rock. One day, they may go with their friends or own families and search for their names. Our own little piece of history.
After our hike we went to the reservoir for a picnic. It was cold and windy. We ate quickly, ran back to the car and headed back to town where it was ten degrees warmer. We said farewell to Hyalite until next summer.
And, Ava got to go horse-back riding again. This time sister got to join her. Happy girls.