No nesting birds to watch, so I have settled instead on the yellow jacket trap. I filled it to the line with white grape juice the other day and hung it below the porch on a rusty, metal garden stake — appropriately topped with the figure of a bee.
Though the trap has done its job by keeping the yellow jackets away from me, I have found little pleasure in my new preoccupation. In fact I find myself silently warning the yellow insects not to climb through the top of the trap, which has nearly filled with their struggling or dead bodies.
The heat must be affecting the hummers as it has the rest of us. They are sipping more sugar more frequently than usual and sharing the feeder with visitor birds.
Hope you all had a wonderful Fourth of July. I hung my flag in the morning and stayed indoors, having cancelled plans to attend the Glover Street parade. For the rest of the day, I celebrated my freedom to stay out of the heat.
Reports indicate that the 27th annual Methow Arts Fest at the park was the most successful ever. Steve Dixon told me that the tie-dye shirts booth was so busy he couldn’t even tell me how the rest of the festival was doing.
While he and Terry and other volunteers were keeping the tie-dye tradition alive in Twisp, the Grateful Dead were preparing to perform their “final” concert at Soldier Field in Chicago. Headline writers had a ball with the event: “A touch of gray: Grateful Dead play final show” (USA Today), and “Grateful Dead end long strange trip in Chicago” (CNN). Jerry Garcia did not appear. Instead of following the Dead, as was once his and his friends life goal, my older son is fighting fire starts near Clarkston, Washington.
The bands at the Twisp festival were pretty good too, young friends tell me.
In the lead-up to the holiday, I caught a cable news host asking his guests, “Tell me one thing you think is great about [the United States of] America.” This seemed a good question to ask for a “man/woman on the street” column. Had I spent any time on the street on Saturday, I would have asked you. Next year.
The first answer a panelist gave was “public libraries.”
“Public libraries and librarians are the best thing about American life,” he said. He and the host talked about spending time in public libraries after school when they were kids. The host remembered going to the library with his pals to “do his homework.” He recalled the librarian’s patience with them and the respect he grew to have for her. He even remembered her name.
How many of your children have “done homework” in the Twisp library while they waited for a violin or dance lesson? We in the valley are lucky to have two public libraries with librarians whose names children will remember long after they have retired: Dawn Woodruff and Sally Portman.
Libraries would probably be the second thing I’d mention. For me, the greatest thing is my freedom to live where I choose. As Americans, we have 50 states to choose from. I chose Washington and the Methow Valley because my granddaughter was here (and still is).
I was nostalgic — even a little weepy — on Saturday, mainly for the holiday traditions of my childhood in Sudbrook Park. Twisp cannot replace or replicate those memories. Yet the beauty of the place, the friendly people, the sense of community, as well as friends and family make me want to stay in this small town.