Sunday, August 29, 2010

Here We Go Again

It was on the last Sunday of the school year which ended in June when I wrote, "What will I do for the summer? I will live! I will live life richly and fully and deeply. I will love life with a hallowed adoration and praise the Maker of us all for having made me and given me this life I treasure." I lied, though I had no idea that what I was writing then would be so far from the actuality of how the summer would play out.

I remember where I went that day, with the camera hanging from my belt as it always is. I set it up on the tripod just to get pictures of myself sitting inside a colorful gazebo with a Cheshire cat grin on my face. I look back at this picture and the others I shot of myself that day and remember so easily what I was feeling - the depth, the focus, the keen exhilaration of being less than a week from the last day of school.

Now, all of a sudden it seems, today is the last Sunday before I begin the new school year which starts tomorrow. It seemed only fitting that I should return to that place where I'd celebrated the end of the past academic season, this time to bid farewell to the summer - the summer that kind of wasn't at all. To be certain I did have some great times in the past weeks, but they were punctuated with disturbing happenings, and human nature being what it is, it's easy to forget the good when the bad is sitting on your chest and banging you in the face.

The face that will greet my new kids tomorrow morning will not be this one - the one I was wearing when I got a head start on setting up the classroom a few weeks ago. They'll see my Mr. Rogers face all smiley and rich with saccharine that they'll think is certainly sugar. They'll hear a cheerful and happy tone. They'll have no idea that the grown man standing before them will be on the verge of tears in wanting to take back the past 12 weeks or so and to have a major do-over with them.

After a few weeks the saccharine will be gone and real sugar will be there. The happiness will be genuine. There will still be an ache to have the summer again, but the bomb blast of letting go of this one will be replaced with a longing for the one to come. All too soon Halloween will come and after that things will rush by. Thanksgiving! Christmas! Tell-tale signs of Spring! Once again I'll visit the place with the pretty gazebo and take a picture of myself smiling.

For now, though, there's only this one as the countdown of days has become one of mere hours.

There are many good things to be accomplished this school year. God, grant me the grace to do them joyfully especially when joy itself doesn't seem anywhere within reach.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


There is much I could write about these days if I wanted to bare my entire soul here at Scootin' da Valley, but I can't.  It's been the worst summer of my adult life, hence my relative absence here in what's traditionally been my most productive writing season, and although on one level I'm lamenting as I always do the return to school next week, on another I'm looking forward to it for the sense of normalcy it gives my days.  It was the ultimate irony that on the very last day of school in June bad news hit, and the whole summer was colored by it and the events that followed.  I write what I do just to keep the machine oiled lightly.  Bits and pieces. Odds and ends.  Scraps of thought here and there.  Like these...

Every time I visit the drive-up ATM I thank God that I'm not one of those folks who has to half open the door to reach the machine.  I think those people should turn in their drivers' licenses and start all over - except for the ones who are notably short of stature.

I couldn't help but wonder if I might have been behind the real Santa today on my way back from the dollar store.  Okay, the spelling isn't quite right, but it could be that somebody else, just to be funny, took the old guy's name before he could order his vanity plate and that he was forced to adapt the spelling to be at least phonetic.

It was only because I went to grade school with the head parking honcho at a local business that I was able to score a really juicy parking spot for the scooter last week.  With all the other parking spots being of the paid variety in a huge lot a decent walk away from the doors, I was most grateful to be among the elite numbered in the "Authorized Vehicles Only" area!

Finally, just a view from an unusual vantage point overlooking this valley in which I hang my hat.  The neighborhood in which I grew up is in the foreground.  The mountain range behind forms the eastern wall of the valley.

Unless I have a banner weekend this will likely be my last post of Summer Vacation 2010.  Bear with me and soon enough you'll hear me shouting and whooping with joy in anticipation of Summer 2011.  

Monday, August 23, 2010

Highway No More

Last year I penned an article here about a road that the GPS called "Highway 3005" which upon closer inspection could hardly have been respectfully called a trail. It was a scary place that I won't describe again since I did such a fine job before. I visited it again a few weeks ago just for the heck of it, thinking actually of trying to take the BV across its three mile or so gauntlet of ruts and rocks. I couldn't have if I'd wanted to...

Even though I'd considered it formidable and somehow dangerous I was met by some degree of sadness in seeing that the old "highway" is now officially closed to vehicular travel. Yes, I checked both ends and the entire length of it is off limits.

I could have gotten the bike around the gate, but to what end? If I met up with the devil or his brother somewhere along the way no piece of emergency equipment would have had easy access to save my sorry butt. Worse, I think I remember a total drop of my cell signal down there by the tracks.

I'll just keep my scooter on the straight and narrow for now!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Hey, Biker!

I was rolling down SR92 last week, along an inhabited stretch, when I passed two boys of early grade school age riding along on their bicycles.  One of 'em looked up and called cheerfully to me, "Hey, biker!"  I tooted the horn, glanced over, called back, "Hi, guys," and rode off into their sunset.

God bless that kid for not knowing the difference between a scooter and a big, Harley cruiser!  He made my day!

Biker, indeed!  LOL!