C's bookshelf: read

The Peculiar
Maggot Moon
The City and the City
The Road
A Certain Slant of Light
The Muses Among Us: Eloquent Listening and Other Pleasures of the Writer's Craft
Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood
Brown Girl in the Ring
Well Wished
The Innkeeper's Song
Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art
American Indian Myths and Legends
The Left Hand of Darkness
The Return of the King
The Fellowship of the Ring
The Two Towers

C S Peterson's favorite books »

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Settling into Summer

            Summer has started and every year I wrestle with finding the rhythm of that particular summer.  I always have a list of millions of things I’m anxious to do; tasks, projects and even celebrations put off during the all-consuming school year.  Every year I worry whether I’ll be able to discipline myself into a workable routine and stick to it flexibly enough to have plenty of spontaneous fun but also accomplish at least some of my goals.

In the old movie “So Dear to My Heart” a boy is wondering how to find wild honey so he can sell some to the local shopkeeper.  The shopkeeper tells him “Just find a bee and follow it to its hive.”  The boy leaves and the shopkeeper’s friend chides him “You just don’t care how you waste that boy’s time.”  To which the shopkeeper replies, “What is time to a boy?”  I miss that feeling from childhood, that summer was endless and full of possibilities for quest and triumph.  But as I get older I am more and more conscious of the urgency of time pressing in on me.  The more I fret, the less gets done.  So, to the first task of the summer: Saturday I took my oldest daughter to take her SAT tests. On the drive there we saw an enormous bird fly low across the road just ahead.  It was a raptor, the largest I had ever seen flying in the wild.  It was being ‘dive-bombed’ by three or four small dark birds, but as it passed us it soared away, easily out flying its tormentors.  I thought it must be a golden eagle, but its wings were mottled with white.  I had never seen a golden eagle in flight before, just perched in captivity, where they are a smooth golden brown.  At home I looked it up in the bird book.  I think it really was a golden eagle. 
            That evening I took a bike ride to a local lake with my eleven-year-old son.  We live in such a beautiful place.  We saw avocets and egrets, white pelicans and killdeers, prairie dogs and even a beaver swimming across the far side of the lake with a branch in its mouth.  As we were standing by the lake, I looked to my left and saw a large grey brown mottled mass on the branch just next to me.  I wondered for a moment if it was an odd-looking hornets nest when it turned its head and I found myself looking into the yellow gold eyes of a great horned owl.  I quietly tapped my son on the shoulder and we both looked at the owl till it silently left the branch and glided out across the lake.  I am hopeful it will be a good summer.


  1. Sounds like you're off and running, Katie. Hopefully you can take some time to follow that bee to its hive, too. I envy you, being so close to a lake with all that bird watching. What a gift to you and the family, and thanks for the description. I love seeing pelicans the most.

  2. In response to your comment: yes, we could have lots of categories. I think the publishing houses seem to have latched on to a new marketing tool, thus lumping it all together helps sales. This opinion isn't based on any real data, just observing what's come about over the past years. Reading and discussing any conflict (as in the Bible) is always good for families. I imagine that some just don't want to discuss the more difficult topics.