I saw the light

While hiking up a steep hill near me yesterday, I was thinking what a long winter it’s been.

But then aren’t they all?

The hill’s a popular one for sledding and has been a busy place this past week after a couple of back to back snow storms.

But Saturday it was empty except for me, the sun, and the trees swaying in the breeze.

It seemed most of the neighborhood children had set aside their sleds, and were busy dusting off their bicycles.

Others were already riding them through the growing puddles in the streets below.

As I stood and faced the sun shining down on the hill, I smelled the musty earth melting below my boots.

And I soon felt March’s blush of warmth on my winter weary face once again.

I even heard a flock of song birds sing a promise of spring as they flew overhead.

Sure, there’s another big snow storm coming here tomorrow, but I know spring is on the way.

How do I know?

Because yesterday I know I saw the light.

A fair, friends and a farm

Labor Day weekend isn’t neccesarily labor free.

Hints of fall were already in the air yesterday as I turned the calendar page over to September.

The crisp morning air nudged me out of bed early to pull out my annual autumn ‘to do’ list.

But I felt a little cranky.

“It’s too early to be this cold,” I muttered to my dogs who kept on sleeping.

Still I had the day off and was sorely tempted to attend ‘Minnesota’s great get together’, also known as the State Fair.

But instead of venturing east to the fairgrounds in the city, I traveled west out into the countryside.

Sure, I was missing the opportunity to party with 186,000 of my closest friends and spend an average of $75.00 while there. And I do know new fair delicacies such as Bacon Up Pups are well worth the money and a 5 pound weight gain.

After all, what’s more blissful that a Belgian Waffle made in bacon batter and dipped in chocolate, next drizzled with maple syrup, and finally topped with whipped cream and even more bacon?

Well, perhaps a big frosty mug of Chocolate Chip Beer could do the job.

But I digress.

Anyway, I knew if I stopped in at the farm where I often hike I’d find a much healthier type of bliss while visiting with some sweet and smiling four legged friends.

And I’d also likely get back home in time to check off a few of my chores on that fall list.

My day went as planned.

In fact it was perfect.

I knew I’d even have time to sharpen my new box of shiny No. 2 pencils to bring to the school where I work next week.

And though I missed the State Fair’s epicurean delights, I was thrilled to come home with a free bag of fresh pole beans, potatoes and parsley.

While driving back home past the big sign advertising the local Hog Feast Social and a little sleepy pub called Grumpy’s, I thought how full and satisfied I was feeling.

And I wasn’t cranky in the least.

For me it truly was a Blue Ribbon kind of day, and I was the winner.

It’s a big night for the cats

In spite of the sweat factor they’re expecting big crowds at the Grandstand tonight for the annual Cat Video Festival at the State Fair. Once held in the big contemporary art museum in town, they needed a bigger venue for the growing catnip crowd. I guess there’s nothing quite like two hours of videos of cute kitties curled up in cartons and under covers. It was the topic of conversation at the coffee machine this morning as co-workers busily swapped cute cat pics from cells as they filled their Hello Kitty cups. I stepped back, hiding my Corgi mug.

I knew this was going to be really big stuff. I had already witnessed chaos for the cuddly cat club earlier today as they boarded wrong busses with the suit and tie crowd at the transit center out in the burbs. The Birkenstocks were a tell take sign.

I helped herd graying grandmas and grandkids, and middle aged mates in matched Minnesota tees
over to the official State Fair Express.

Many were talking about stopping for milk shake cocktails before the big show in the cool of the dairy barn. Some will fill a bottle for meowing ‘illegals’ snuck in. They’ll also witness the sculpting of butter art portraying a member of our fair royalty, the dairy princess.

But rumor has it next year that sculpture may be a tabby. Cats are the ones who ultimately rule in these parts.