Delights: August 26 to September 1

August 26: I gazed over home plate, swiveled my head left and right, and then poked at the screen of my phone. I hadn’t bought popcorn at my usual place and now struggled to use the ballpark app to identify another vendor.

A ballpark usher approached. “Can I help you find something?” Then he looked at my Washington Nationals shirt, my Washington Nationals hat, my Washington Nationals earrings and my Washington Nationals water bottle. “Oh, I guess you know your way around here!”

But he did point me toward the popcorn. “I always smell it,” he said.

I wish I could smell the monsoon-season loveliness of Madera Canyon near Tucson, Arizona. This beautiful fellow is dedicated to all you fungi fans out there. Photo by Anne Ryan.

August 27: Who just spent an entire Saturday afternoon with a seasoned baseball-loving woman who quotes Whitman and slow-dances to Edith Piaf? Who galloped through a new book about that very woman and the movie that created her, along with the grizzled minor league home run champion and the wild baby-faced pitching phenom they both mentor? And who thinks Bull Durham is the greatest baseball movie ever made?

Ok, maybe only me. 

But for two hours at my coffee shop and four hours on my sofa, I galloped through The Church of Baseball: The Making of Bull Durham: Home Runs, Bad Calls, Crazy Fights, Big Swings, and a Hit, by Ron Shelton, who wrote and directed the 1988 movie. The book swirled my two current passions, baseball and filmmaking, into soft-serve yumminess. Now I want to watch the movie. Or go to another ballgame. Or both.

Anne told me that she and Nina saw a great variety of “fungi, slimes and other wondrous things” in Madera Canyon from the monsoon rains. I wonder if this is slime?? Photo by Anne Ryan.

Bonus: Kevin’s and my friends Cindy and Doug just landed a new, blue fully electric Ford F150 truck. They gave me a tour of this amazing vehicle. They opened up the hood to reveal the fish (or beer) cooler where the engine would be. They showed me the outlet in the truck bed that can run their refrigerator (and more) during a power failure. They showed me the immense back seat. But Doug, Doug, Doug, you just wouldn’t show me the recipe for those fabulous kale, cheese & pumpkin seed muffins you served me . . .

August 28: We welcomed our Massachusetts friends to the beach with all the hospitality in our power, but cautioned that we couldn’t promise horses. Good luck, however, smiled upon us. As we drove down Assateague Island, we came upon a few cars clustered along the side of the road: a sure sign of either horses or sunsets. We got out of our car. 

Yes! If you squint, you can see them wading way out there! They’re coming closer! Um, really, really close. I opened the trunk of my car to grab my camera and nearly collided with a horse that smelled our picnic. We kept backing up — social distancing from the Assateague horses is 40 feet; we were lucky to maintain the pandemic 6. Practically surrounded by horses, we returned to our car and delicately extracted ourselves from the sociable band. 

At the beach, we also bumped into a very large horseshoe crab — rescued in the surf by a brave girl who waded beyond the waves to release him — and scores of tentacle-free jellyfish that resembled the bottoms of glass soda bottles.

At least they didn’t want our lunch.

A freshwater stream channeled under the roadway apparently still tastes good.
Ava displays her jellyfish collection.

August 29: We left the beach at Assateague in the heat of the day today and didn’t expect to encounter any more horses. Coming upon two national park vehicles, however, we gasped to see a young horse lying down along the side of the road. 

We quickly realized that the foal hadn’t been struck by a car (truly, they own the roadway and the bike path, as Kevin and Nate will attest). Instead, it was wedged under the crossbeam of the low roadside railing. Panicked and scrabbling to get purchase on the sand, the foal finally yielded to a park ranger who gently rolled it sideways. The foal immediately freed itself and scampered across the road to join its family. 

Sometimes I guess we need to get stuck in order to see how much we’ve grown.

Yesterday’s mother and foal posed for this photo. But you’ll see today’s fence rails in the back. How could a foal have ever been small enough to squeeze through that space?

August 30: Lazy River. Just — Lazy River. 

Here at the waterpark with Carolyn and her children Liam and Ava, I’ve finally become the woman who allows the lazy river to do all the work.

August 31: Jeremiah texted me: “Do you want OK seats at 7pm, or perfect seats at 9:20 pm?” Perfect, of course, because Jeremiah had invited me to a showing of Spirited Away, the 2001 animated Japanese classic. 

I had never heard of the film. Gladly accepting the invitation, I was stunned to hear Jeremiah describe it as one of the great films of his childhood. (Hooray for the cultural power of sleepovers!) At the movie theater, we settled into our perfect seats and I was awestruck by — everything: exquisite hand-drawn animation and camera work, a beautiful story dusted with suspense and kindness, a mesmerizing soundtrack (I’m listening to it now), and perhaps the single best character ever written for film, in the person of 10-year-old Chihiro who enters the land of the spirits to save her parents. 

Written and directed by master filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki, Spirited Away won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. In 2017, the New York Times named it the greatest movie (so far) of the 21st century. I totally get it.

(This morning, Jeremiah walked past as I watched the English-language trailer. “Hey, mom! You’re rewatching it already! Way to go!” Hmmm. But what am I doing this weekend…..??)

Anne said she tried to identify these beauties. It turns out you need to photograph their stems and undersides. I’m kind of glad she didn’t. Photo by Anne Ryan.

September 1: Yesterday, on my way home from the beach, my car slowed next to a motorcyclist clad in a pink helmet and a pink leather jacket. On the seat behind her rested a deep bin. And in the bin, behind a miniature windshield, sat two chihuahuas. Harnessed carefully, the chihuahuas kept popping their heads up to catch the breeze and, perhaps, to smile back at all the tired motorists smiling at them.

Bonus: Canadian blogger Retirement Reflections posted this wonderful 31-day calendar (below) inviting us to perform simple acts of kindness. If this were a bingo card, I suspect you, Dear Reader, would already have covered many of the squares already. You’ll see that the blogger developed her own calendar with very specific actions she pledged to take for the month of August. Of course, any month will do. Today is September 1. I wonder what big-hearted intentions I can form and execute each day this month.

Readers, to receive notifications by email each time I make a post, just scroll all the way down this page (next to the “word cloud”), look to the left and click on the black button that says “Join Me!” And if you think a friend might enjoy these, please share the Delight!

If you’d like to browse my past delights, please consult the “word cloud” featured at the very bottom of this post. Find a theme or two that interests you and sift through the sands. Or learn a bit more about my Blog by visiting my Welcome page. You’ll also see links to four essays that were published in print magazines. I’m glad you’re here!

18 thoughts on “Delights: August 26 to September 1

  1. Ryan, Anne M - (anneryan) September 1, 2022 — 7:57 pm

    Love this blog edition, especially the overly social horses. We took our girls there when they were small and remember the “wild horses kick and bite” warning and then being shocked at how friendly they actually were!!! Big hugs to you, Anne

    Get Outlook for Androidhttps://aka.ms/ghei36 ________________________________

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    1. Hi, Anne. Thanks for sharing memories about the horses! It’s funny: when we took the boys to Assateague years ago, we watched two stallions fighting in the parking lot. That was pretty scary. I’m glad we’ve both seen them in calmer moods!

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  2. Your posts usually brighten up my Friday mornings, but I am currently in a different time zone, a different season and a different country, so Thursday evening was brightened up instead. Love the beach walk…and your choice of film!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Barbara. I’m always so happy to hear from you. Your comments (and blogs, of course) brighten my spirits too. And speaking of spirits, I’m glad you like Spirited Away too. I’m late to the party, but very happy to be there!

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  3. Great post. I always get inspired reading them. Have you read Doris Kearns Goodwin’s baseball book or Charles Krauthammer’s? They’re the only two I have read about baseball, but they’re both wonderful! A few other things I’ve wanted to tell you is since family camp. Between art, horse, and fungi gazings (I have a cool variety growing out of my birch), would you drop me a text or email or give me call? 240-383-7238 – Hjoysharp@gmail.com. P.S. thanks to you and Jeremiah, I am enjoying Don Quixote!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Joy. I’m thrilled you are enjoying my posts. Thank you! And thank you for your baseball book suggestions. I appreciate the reminder about the Goodwin book: my Mom was an avid Brooklyn Dodgers fan, and I think Goodwin recalls her own great love (and disappointment when they moved). I will definitely read it. And I didn’t know about the Krauthammer book; I’ll put it on my list.

      Regarding fungi: please consider sending me a photo of your specimen! And about Don Quixote. Yippee! I am so happy you picked it up (the Edith Grossman translation, I assume) and are enjoying it. How can a classic be a “best kept secret”? But I think it is. I’ll tell Jeremiah!

      p.s. I’ll text you pronto!

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  4. Your close encounter with the horses sounds magical, and I’m very envious! And I so love the image of the the chihuahuas and the motorbike…such an unlikely combination, even more so when combined with the biker’s pink leathers.

    I’m intrigued by the all-electric truck. What range does it have? Here we are being encouraged to buy electric cars, but the infrastructure to recharge them is currently under-developed. I would worry that we’d run out of charge and end up stranded miles from home!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Mr. P. — The horses and chihuahuas were indeed fun this week! Regarding the EV truck: it has a range of around 240 miles between charges. My husband and I have a smaller EV sedan that gets 260 miles. The infrastructure here in the US is growing by the minute. I’m glad you’re considering an electric vehicle. They are so cool — and good for the planet!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well done for having a fully EV car, you plainly have the pioneer spirit! 260 miles for a sedan is comparable with what is available here, I think, and 240 miles for a truck sounds good (my knowledge of trucks is minimal!)

        I currently drive a self-charging hybrid, which is much more fuel efficient than a traditional engine, and I always allow myself a purr of pleasure when it slips into EV mode – good for the planet, and my bank balance too! Although the government here claims to be encouraging the development of infrastructure to charge electric cars, progress seems slow. Hopefully the pace will pick up during the decade!

        As a side issue, electric cars are so much quieter than traditional internal combustion and diesel engines. We were out visiting a ruined abbey yesterday, and when I parked up the car was in EV mode. Two cyclists were hanging around in the car park (that’s a car “lot” to you, I think!), and they remarked on how eerily quiet my car was, and how easy it would have been – had they been looking in the other direction – to be totally unaware of my presence. So when most vehicles on our roads are EVs, noise pollution – as well as atmospheric pollution / CO2 emissions,- should be much reduced!

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Dear Mr. P — I love your story about your quiet car pulling into the parking space. (You are right: we’d call that expanse a “parking lot.”) You remind me to pay closer attention to my Prius, when it enters its own realm of silence!

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  5. It’s been a while since I’ve watched a Miyazaki movie … Spirited Away was one the kids and I were particularly enchanted by (Howl’s Moving Castle & My Neighbour Totoro were also very well-received – have you watched these?).

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    1. I’m glad to hear about your own memories of Spirited Away, Ju-Lyn. And thank you for mentioning the two additional films. Probably eight years ago, I gave “My Neighbour Totoro” to Jeremiah for Christmas. (He kept talking about it.) And Kevin wants to see Spirited Away. We’ll have a Miyazaki festival in our own home!

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  6. Hi, Carol Ann – Thank you for the kind shoutout. It is greatly appreciated!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oops – I swear that WP sent that comment before I was finished typing. Wishing you an inspired September. I look forward to following!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi, friend. Thank you for stopping by and for inspiring me with your posts! I very happy to spread the love.

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  7. “ greatest baseball movie ever made”?! Let’s make that “greatest _movie_ ever made”! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dave!!! I am thrilled to hear from you! I didn’t know you read my blog. (Kevin just told me that you see it when he posts on FaceBook — thank you!) And, of course, I love your comment. All those years of our families watching movies at your house, and we never watched this one together. (Probably because it’s not exactly a kid movie….) Think of me when you watch it again — and I’ll think of you.

      And remember, candlesticks always make a nice wedding present.

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