Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Tongue Tied By Beauty

“This isn’t the way I thought retirement would go,” Dean said.  As I bent down to throw another humongous chunk of cement over the bank, making sure I threw it exactly between those two trees and far enough that it lands on the bank, but not so far it lands or rolls into the water, I was thinking I wasn’t going to tell him that those two trees now had areas of missing bark and that somehow chunks of cement had gotten into the creek. But when I wasn’t thinking that, I was thinking I agreed with him and that we needed a break from the yard projects that seemed to have taken over our lives.  So we did.  Take a break.  We ignored our aching joints, stiff backs, swollen fingers and throbbing feet and took Emerson to the Tongue River Canyon for a day of hiking. 

The grass was tender and lush and the boys took advantage of it to do some grazing, which I know 

from Googling they eat for one of three reasons:  1. they need some fiber, 2. they just enjoy the taste of tender grass, or 3. (and most likely) they think it’s fun to gag and run straight for my area rug where, just as I get my arms around them and start dragging them toward the wood floor, they barf up a pile of bile and long-slimy grass blades. 

When they weren’t foraging they were sniffing, snorting, drooling and enjoying any water we came across.

It was a pleasant surprise to discover that all the cement hurling, compost digging, dirt turning, stone lifting, stooping, bending and twisting we’d been doing over the last weeks had made my body stronger which made it easier to crouch down (and even back up!) to take photos of all the different wildflowers and unique displays of nature.  

I’d really hoped my photos would entice the nature/flower-loving friends we’ve known since high school to come out

and experience the wonders of Wyoming (and see us!) but my photographic talent (or lack of) was

 hampered by the fact that I had no idea how sharp, or even what, was in the viewfinder of my

camera.  I could have easily remedied that problem, but hiking with reading glasses just seemed so, oh, I don’t know, old. 

Photo credit to Emerson -- oh, to have young eyes again ....

After I got home and realized most of the photos I’d taken were blurry, I decided next time I’d just suck it up and wear them.

Squirrel banquet hall

If I’d been wearing them I would have been able to see what I zoomed in to instead of needing to get up close and lean back to get the “perfect” shot.  That way I wouldn’t have ended up like a turtle on its back when my water-bottle-filled backpack pulled me over, which was much more humiliating than wearing reading glasses on a hiking trail. 

 Dean, who I’ve apparently ruined by making him “wait while I just take a quick photo,” of course couldn’t help me up until he’d made me “wait while I just take a quick photo.”

The culprit

We’d hiked the Tongue River Canyon Trail a few times in the last couple of years but had never made it as far as the meadow area.  If you ever want to push yourself a bit farther and a bit harder than you initially planned on, take a 11 ½ -year old hiking with you.  “I’m pretty sure we can go 

farther,” Emerson would say.  And farther we’d go.  This time we made it to the meadow.   And next time ...  next time we’ll hike to the meadow and beyond!

The hike out took half as long as the hike in.  Partly because more of it was downhill, but mostly because Emerson spent her time talking on her rock phone and the more she talked the faster she walked.  She obviously got much better reception than my cell phone.  Mine said “searching” the whole way out but Emerson made multiple calls to friends and family. 

“Hi Mom.  Nana and Papa thought we should have ice cream after we get back.  What do you think?  Yeah.  I think it’s a good idea too cuz it’s free ice cream.  What’s Dad doing?  Is he playing the drums in his underwear again?  Okay, I gotta go.  I need to call Nolan.  Bye.”

“Hi Nolan’s Mom….Mrs. McCready.  Is Nolan there?  Okay, thanks.  Oh, hi Nolan.  I’m just hiking with my Nana and Papa.  Oh, wait, sorry.  Hold on.  ‘What Papa?  Okay.  I’m just talking to Nolan.’  Nolan?  Sorry.  My papa was just asking me a question.  Oh, we're just hiking and then we’re going to get ice cream when we get back.”

She talked ….

And talked …

And talked. 

Her phone lost its charge just as we reached the car.  Or imagine it did because it was very quiet in the backseat on the ride home.  The dogs were sacked out in the back dreaming of the next time they’d get to graze on grass, Emerson was reading the last chapter of a book and maybe trying to decide which sprinkles she’d be putting on her ice cream.  I don’t know for sure but I wouldn’t be surprised if Dean was trying to figure out how he could talk me out of the next project I suggest.   And I was wondering if, once we got home, I’d have time to suck down a couple of Ibuprophen before I had to run for the dog barf cleaning solution.



Art Elser said...

Great pictures, Cathy. Lovely place. I especially love the picture of the wood nymph lying casually and seductively in the grass on her back with one of her favorite pups wondering what's going on.

Did the rock phone cost much? Or was it one of those cheap disposable ones? Love the pics of Emerson. She seemed to be having a great time.

Heidrun Khokhar, KleinsteMotte said...

Magnificent photos and interesting text too. The image o dogs messing up a rig is a familiar one. I also loved that stunning wood piece.

Deirdre MacDonald said...

Looks like a wonderful hike and what lovely flowers!!! I just finished my plant class but since these don't grow in the desert I didn't recognize any except the lupine but I did see a flower in the Asperaceae family!

Abby said...

Fireweed and lupins and bluebells, aw memories of childhood, and wait, leafy spurge? Isn't that an invasive weed....?

Hilarious rock phone conversations, which I could be there.