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Off the grid: Wishing summer would just end already

By Ammi Midstokke For The Spokesman-Review

The winters of the Great Northwest usually have us pining for warmer days and longer nights, and then rather inconsolable when it’s too cold to run around in our bathing suits all day. Not me. Not this year. Because I did everything this summer. Every sport, chore, adventure, sun-dress-affair – and with an intensity that had me begging for frost by mid-August.

At this point, I’d even be grateful if a locust plague came and ate my garden to avoid the work of harvesting. All three kale plants and the one runt pumpkin that made it, that is.

The house got painted, the yard got landscaped, the lawn planted, the starts grown and transplanted. There was a wedding, a half-dozen ultramarathons (at least some of them intentional), mountain adventures, canoe adventures, camping and hiking and climbing. My flower pots even survived through July, which meant I was responsibly watering through most of the season.

I ran all my local trails and found some others. I went to the coast and camped with the kids. I swam in alpine lakes, played on the paddle board at sunset, ate dinner on a dock, mountain biked, road biked and rode my bike to work. I read books on the porch in the morning sun, drank my coffee on the deck, and on hot nights, I slept as naked as the day I was born.

I am scratched, bruised and scarred. I have knees that have been so sore for weeks, I’m seriously considering having a helper bar installed next to my toilet. (Why wait? It’s only a matter of time anyway.) I wore down three pairs of running shoes and had my Birkenstock soles replaced at least once. There were barbecues and birthday cakes, and even a week when this teetotaler felt compelled to consume all the champagne leftover from the wedding.

(That was a rather decadent week I labeled “Self-Care” in my calendar, living on French rosé and popcorn and watching “Hamilton” until I could sing along in my sleep.)

The yard varmint and I have made a truce, but mostly because I have not reckoned with the aphids in my cabbages. The ponds are nearly dried up.

Only my search for firewood and my draining of the hoses await me as the season slips away into the much welcomed autumn.

Let it be known that I am looking forward to cozy sweaters, warm tea and the mornings when my chores mostly involve knitting. I want long-sleeved runs on golden-carpeted trails and I promise I won’t so much as snicker at any pumpkin spice humor.

When the days go gray, the leaves are on the ground and the landscape turns to a bland tone of chilled earth, I will sit inside my lazy cabin and have long debates (but not too long) about whether I should play another round of cribbage or nap.

It could be possible I am confusing autumn with retirement, or merely practicing. Regardless, my vocabulary will be struck of words like “plan” and “motivation” and “positive habit forming.” I’ll spend hours finding new vocabulary in the New Yorker pile I’ve been neglecting.

It probably will be at least January before I start cursing the snow-shoveling and fire-making and ceaseless chill of winter.

Seasons, I have concluded, are merely here for us to have something to look forward to.

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