Sunday, June 15, 2008

Languorous Loafing and Lethargy

Summer stirs up in me the deep-seated need to lie around basking in sunbeams and snoozing with gigantic tomes of mostly forgotten literature on my lap.  It does not stir in me the need to produce art on any scale, because that involves thought and planning and attention to detail...exactly the opposite of what summer requires.

I am fortunate that for the entirety of my life, I have followed the seasons of academia  (broken only by two summer internship positions, as a graduate student).  As a child and student, and now as the homeschooling mother of two, summer is a time to rest, to reflect, to rejuvenate and, quite honestly, to forget 1/3 of what I learned the previous academic year.  I don't apologize for it.  It just happens, and if you take summers off, you know it does.  Ask any school kid what he learned in the last 2 months of school and you'll get a completely blank look.  Not.  A.  Clue.

But, I digress.  Summer IS a time of explorations and poking about in the woods, at least it is for me and my boys.  Of course, any season is a time of explorations and poking about in the woods for me and my boys.  We took to the road again just this past weekend - up to a place we've been many times, but never camped until now - Cades Cove - in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Cades Cove 098

The 17-year cicadas had burst forth from the ground, molted and were dropping rapidly when we arrived.  Our campsite was covered with dead, mostly dead and slightly alive buggies.  The holes in the ground from where they had emerged from their tunnels were still very evident.  Their orange wings and bright red eyes were captivating.

Cade's Cove 104

Cade's Cove 102

Other varieties of wildlife were abundant, too.  Deer by the dozen, a coyote crossing the road in front of our moving car, and sweet little barn swallow babies asking for some food.  I had none, but mama swallow and daddy swallow were working their deeply forked tails off, providing for them.  The fact that they built their little mud nest in the most active historic building in the Cades Cove Visitor Center is a little concerning, however.

Cades Cove 020

Cade's Cove 099

Cade's Cove 091

We did a few other things, too, but I'll have to tell you about them tomorrow.  Right now, that anthology of women's literature is beckoning me to the bed.  Don't expect anything early, though - it is summer, after all.