As I write this column, my two little boys are rummaging through LEGO bricks bickering about who needs which piece, KIDZ BOP Kids is playing on Pandora and eggs are boiling on the stove for egg salad sandwich lunches.
This is my summertime work setting.
With Memorial Day right around the corner, the fun in the sun of summer in the mountains is here, ready to surprise and delight any and all.
A state program that’s set to lower Western Carolina University’s tuition to $500 per semester could have unintended consequences when it comes to the university’s summer programming.
On my Sunday afternoon jog around Lake Junaluska, I can actually feel for the first time that summer is slipping away. There is the slightest sliver of coolness in the air, like a strand of different-colored hair, and some of the trees are beginning to flash a tiny glimpse of the dramatic changes in color that are just around the next bend. I’m pushing myself a little today, as if I might outrun the image forming now in my head of my family huddled together, waving goodbye to the best summer we’ve ever had as it pulls away like a train leaving the station.
Novels that make me laugh aloud are rare. Two novels, Confederacy of Dunces and Freddy and Fredericka, brought laughter, and in several of his books, Anthony Burgess had me going. Some essayists have the same effect — here I’m thinking of Chicago columnist Mike Royko, who died almost 20 years ago, but whose columns, depending on the subject, are still funny, mostly because of Royko’s acute sense of the ridiculous in politics and culture.
In a woodsy neighborhood up a winding mountain road from Franklin, late May is pretty quiet — at least from a human perspective. Many of the second-home owners who live there haven’t yet moved in for the summer, and with lots spanning as many as 40 acres, things are spread pretty far apart anyway.
But the avian summer move-ins are there in force, and if you’re a bird, you’d probably say the forested neighborhood is anything but quiet. It’s full of tweets and chirps and chirrs, pretty sounds that actually mean things are a-stirring in the bird community.
It’s mid-September ... late summer is sliding toward early autumn. The end of summer officially arrives with the autumnal equinox of Sept. 23, when the sun crosses the celestial equator going north to south.
One senses this transition in the cool mist-shrouded mornings as well as by the brown-splotched and red-tinged leaves of the buckeye trees. Communal groups of swallows will soon be gathering on wires and branches prior to their annual southerly migration. Before long, monarch butterflies will be skipping with ease along the Appalachian chain headed for their ancestral wintering grounds in Mexico.
No late summer wildflower is more widely recognized than evening primrose. The four broad yellow petals that open in the evening and often linger into mid-morning on overcast days are a dead giveaway. If you’re looking for the plant, you won’t have to venture any farther than the first disturbed area in your neighborhood.