Today the warm sweet scent of summer whispered through town on the evening breeze. The Sun was slow to retreat and people lingered in the April twilight. I can’t wait for more colorful evenings just like this one.
No matter what the weather, local popcorn celebrity, Orville Redenbacher is always ready to welcome visitors to Valparaiso, sitting in the Central Park Plaza in his characteristic bow tie. My parents and I couldn’t resist snapping a photo on this frosty afternoon. However, Orville is certainly in for more comfortable weather as the snow melts and Spring comes into view.
The spark of Christmas cheer is finally catching, spreading like multicolored wildfire. December has arrived and brought with it total blackness by 5pm every night. However, while evening rules the skies these days, the world below celebrates the spirit of the season with a festival of lights at the end of each and every day. It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.
I don’t have anything terribly profound or useful to share today. I’ve recently been afflicted by the COVID blues, social distancing measures making it difficult to connect with friends, old and new. I’m constantly itching for activity and social interaction while simultaneously wanting nothing more than to curl up on my sofa and take a nice long nap.
However, despite the ever evolving trials of 2020, life is good here in Valpo. It snowed today for the first time all year after an exceptionally long Autumn. When I’m feeling stuck, I need only step outside for a stroll around the block to be reminded of the loveliness of nature here in Indiana.
There’s something vaguely European about this place and the people in it. Maybe it’s the rich history and strong Polish influence lingering generations later. Whatever the reason, it hit me the very first day I moved to Valpo and I’ve been noticing it ever since. The towering willowy trees and their emerald foliage remind me of the ones I saw in Germany on a family vacation when I was ten. It rains like it did there too, frequently and in great torrents, beating the Earth with a super soaker. The cobbled streets near the plaza downtown are like the many old town squares where my family lunched.
There’s also something foreign about the people that live here. They’re all better dressed than the people back home for one thing. Coloradans are notoriously casual and it’s one of the only things that I never could quite understand about Rocky Mountain folks. Here in Indiana you can see ladies in heels and men in polos for no other reason than a leisurely afternoon stroll through the streets of downtown. Maybe it’s the proximity to Chicago city life but ripped jeans and ratty t-shirts are not the fashion here. And as Fall rolls in, everyone happily dons their coziest knitwear and polishes their sensible leather boots to ward off the chill in the air.
This post is short and sweet and all about the photo. As I’ve said a number of times on this blog, sometimes you just have to stop and smell the flowers (or appreciate the symmetry in the power lines).
This was one of the views at Sunset Hill Farm. Standing beneath the power lines where the faint crackle of electricity is just discernible over the buzzing of insects, you can look out through the narrow strip of mowed land at sunny, rolling hills. If you look closely you can also see fine green tendrils beginning to creep about the base of the towers, reaching ever skyward.
It’s so difficult to choose just one photo for the Photo of the Day, especially when living in a place that, in my sister’s words “is just so green!” Some of the Indiana locals seem unimpressed with the thriving woodlands right in their backyard. However, each time I walk out my front door I can’t help but gape at the buzzing, living tapestry containing every imaginable shade of Emerald.
I always wondered what happened to the Entwives after the War of the Ring or even if there were any left in Middle Earth, perhaps quietly tending gardens in the Shire. No one knows, but I suspect they found their way to a place like this.
Do you ever finish with a long day filled with an overwhelming urge to shoot something? Why don’t you? I know violence is not the answer to conflict when it comes to others. But controlled violence in a safe and friendly environment can be better than therapy. An hour or two spent at the shooting range making some noise and putting a bunch of holes in paper is guaranteed to make your day better.
A few of the ladies from my shooting league met on Friday for an unofficial start to regular practices. We didn’t run usual drills but someone came with a stack of fun paper targets to choose from including zombies, aliens, battleship, bowling pins and even anatomy practice. It’s amazing how quickly you burn through ammunition when the only goal is to have a safe good time at the range with a few friends but it was worth every round and every second.
The universe was smiling on this Saturday morning at Sunset Hill Farm. I decided to get my weekend started with an early jog but, as per my usual practice, I kept getting distracted by all the beautiful nature around me. Summers in northern Indiana are overflowing with new growth and life and this day was no exception.
These photos were taken at 9:30am with the Sun already high in the sky and the world aglow with the bright blooms of Valparaiso. Even if you’re on a mission, off to do exciting and important things, always take a little time to stop and smell the flowers. You’ll be glad you did.
It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life, becoming glued to phone and computer screens. Especially in recent months, when electronic communication has been more important than ever, stepping away from technology has become even more of a challenge. This is one of the reasons that my parents’ visit from Colorado could not come soon enough. It was the first time since Christmas that we were able to spend quality, face-to-face time together. Although I talk to my mom over the phone on a nearly daily basis, there’s an entirely different connection which comes from occupying the same space. We made sure to fill our time with plenty of nature and sunshine.
Apart from a few quiet moments in the evenings, we spent almost no time on our devices and instead relaxed at the beach or enjoyed walks through the neighborhood. It was a much needed break for all of us. There was no strict itinerary or deadline. We fell into the easy, quiet, hobbit-like rhythm of Indiana, relishing the neatly trimmed lawns, the kaleidoscope of emerald hues, and the gentle thunder of waves rolling across the sand which are unique to Indiana.