Peonies for remembrance

It’s been peak bloom for peonies this past week. With our hot temperatures and gusty winds I can walk outside and immediately smell the scent of peonies in the air. It’s a short-lived bloom season, and perhaps that’s one of the reasons I savor every day. We’ve added additional peony bushes over the years, but I continue to favor the ones that I transplanted from my mother and father’s house in Kansas. These are the ones that were on the side of their house, sometimes neglected, but they continued to blossom. Each year my parents would gather and cut the blooms to take to the cemeteries on Memorial Day and lay on the graves of relatives. Fast forward to now, with both my parents having passed on, I’m filled with wonderful memories and see these Kansas peonies blooming in honor of my mom and dad.

The beauty of Kansas and the midwest

We traveled south last week for a visit with family in Kansas.  Our route took us off the interstate and along two lane highways and county roads.  It was relaxing and much more interesting than the speed-view when traveling at 70+ miles per hour.  We stopped at small city parks and explored fields of corn and soybeans.  The temperatures were still summer-like but the days are certainly shorter.  The sunsets were beautiful like this one –  fields of flowers and a ball of fire going down over the horizon but still giving its glow and colors to the clouds above.  The field was full of dragonflies and grasshoppers, all in a feeding frenzy before fall and winter’s arrival.  It was a wonderful trip — not just for the scenery but more importantly for the time spent with family.

Evening twilight

We’d met up with friends and family in the early evening and headed out for some fishing.  As my line and lure were not garnering any attention, I started watching the evening light.  The sun moved lower on the horizon, the bright blue of the sky toned down, and the white clouds soaked up the lovely pink of twilight.  Even the wind that had been blowing eventually stopped and the lake became like glass.  The island ahead of us was reflected in the lake, but the clouds seemed to surround us, above and below.  The light was fleeting, the colors left the sky, and dark settled in quickly.  (And yes, my line remained uninteresting to the fish, but I left the lake thankful for the twilight’s beauty and the company of family and good friends.)

A byway to come back to

We just returned from a quick trip to Salt Lake City.  In addition to visiting family and enjoying Thanksgiving hospitality, we also hit the road for some sightseeing.  After reading about the Mirror Lake Scenic Byway, we headed out to see how far we could go.  We had a wonderful brunch in Kamas and then left town on Utah State Route 150.  The road follows the Provo River as it tumbles down through the Uinta Mountains, and although the weather was unseasonably warm in northern Utah, there has been snow in the higher elevations.  We were only able to drive 15 miles, but we were not disappointed. The terrain is beautiful, and as the road climbed upward the landscape became white.  The patterns of the trees with their light and dark, the snow and blue sky — it was all a delight for the eyes.  And whenever we stopped en route, we could hear the river below as it moved over rocks and rapids.  As much as we marveled at the area on this shortened trip, we know we will return to travel and explore the full distance of the byway.