First Day of Summer Vacation

11454297503_e27946e4ff_hOn Saturday morning, I woke early. Summer vacation had begun! It was about 4:30, my regular school-day rising time, and coming downstairs, I glanced outside. The sky glowed with streaks of pink and red.

Ooh. I thought, I could go down to the river and take some pictures.

Now, really, nothing stops me from doing this on a regular Saturday morning during the school year, but the idea of going down spontaneously felt like a bold step out of my routine–A declaration: Summer is here! Delighted with the idea, I quickly made my coffee, poured it into a travel mug, threw on a sweatshirt and headed out.


At the river, the colors weren’t as brilliant as I’d hoped, but it was still lovely and the air pulsed with birdsong. Tendrils of mist drifted across the water’s surface and periodically a fish jumped, sending rippled circles outward.

I walked over to the bridge to get a different vantage and took some more pictures, enjoying the cool, fresh air, and the feeling of unscheduled time stretching before me. After a few minutes, a car  pulled into the lot and moments later, an older man walked up, camera in hand. We nodded to each other.

“It’s a beautiful morning, isn’t it?” I said.

“Oh, yes,” he agreed, smiling.


We chatted casually for about 20 minutes, stopping every so often to take pictures as the light changed. It turns out, perhaps unsurprisingly given the context of our meeting, that we had a lot to talk about. Each of us enjoys rising early and coming down to the water to take pictures, though our spouses think we’re slightly insane.  We compared favorite sightings and photos–muskrats and beaver, multiple bald eagles, a cormorant eating a catfish, a heron silhouetted in flight against a pink sky. We shared our favorite local spots for taking pictures. I told him about the Baltimore oriole that had been visiting me this spring, and he told me about watching a fox cross the iced-over river this past winter. He lamented that he hadn’t seen any kingfisher or herons this year. We shared anecdotes about our cats.

“My wife makes my photos up into photo books on Shutterfly,” he told me at one point. “I’ve got one in the car. It just came yesterday…but I wouldn’t want to bore you.”

“Oh, I’d love to see it!” I enthused sincerely.

After a few more moments of conversation and picture taking, we returned to the parking lot and he pulled the book from the backseat of his car, handing it to me. The cover photo was a stunning shot, an early  morning picture with a silhouette of a scull and several rowers. I opened the book and paged through, and he shared additional information and background stories about the photos. As I expected, natural scenes with birds and animals featured prominently. I admired the photos, asking for help identifying some of the birds that were unknown to me.

“Oh, what a great picture of a cedar waxwing!” I said pointing at one picture. “I haven’t seen one of those in years.”

As we talked I saw a movement in the river.

“Oh, look! It’s a beaver or a muskrat!” I said, pointing.

He turned and together we watched the animal swim across the river, then dive and disappear before we could identify it. A bird fluttered into a bush near us. We both turned again.

“I can’t believe it!” I exclaimed, “I think it’s a cedar waxwing!”

And it certainly was. It didn’t cooperate enough for either of us to capture a good photo, but we delighted in watching it dart in and out of nearby bushes.

“Ok,” I finally said, “I’m going to head home now.”

“Well, I’m going to head up to my favorite spot on the tracks,” he said.

I turned and then moved closer to the water to take yet another picture.

“It’s addictive, Molly!” he said, smiling and shaking his head.

“I know!” I replied. “There’s just always that possibility that something wonderful will happen.”

He nodded and smiled again, and I knew that he knew exactly what I meant.

What a wonderful way to start summer vacation.


I went back early this morning and captured this photo of a cedar waxwing.

24 thoughts on “First Day of Summer Vacation

  1. What a great way to start my day with your early morning encounter. A Shutterfly book in your future?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Deanna Clayton says:

    WOW! It seems as though you were meant to run into this man, right? Sometimes the things we need aren’t far from home. I loved your post and have been thinking about taking a photography class since I love taking pictures of nature. I think I was meant to read your post today, right?

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      Thanks, Deanna. I’m glad my post was timely 🙂 Someday I’ll take a photography class. My goal for this summer is to start playing with my DSLR instead of always going to my point and shoot!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. dmsherriff says:

    “There’s just always that possibility that something wonderful will happen.” We should all start the day with this in mind! Love the relaxed, friendly nature of this slice! Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a beautiful way to start your day. Things seem to happen for a reason. We just have to be open to see them.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. margaretsmn says:

    I love this post, your impromptu love of nature and this chance encounter with a new friend. You inspire me to take a nature hike, if only it were 20 degrees cooler. We are inching toward 100 today.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Christine says:

    What a great way to greet summer! Here’s to many more nature moments.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Vicki Fafel says:

    I loved your post, so hopeful and full of the joy of an ordinary day without the tyranny of a pressing schedule! Enjoy the rest of these summer days!

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      Thanks so much, Vicki! Somehow your comment got lost in my blog and I just noticed it today–sorry! I really appreciate your stopping by and commenting and hope your summer has been filled with lovely days without “the tyranny of a pressing schedule.”


  8. Wow! These are some beautiful pictures! What a great way to start your day!

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      Thanks so much! It was a great start to the day. I apologize for the delay in posting your comment–it got lost in a blog bog!!! Hope you’ve enjoyed the summer!


  9. What a serendipitous way to begin your summer! I can’t wait to hear about your discoveries!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Isn’t it wonderful how something so ordinary as a break in routine can make us look more closely at everything and make life feel like an adventure? Lovely post!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Debbie Lynn says:

    A perfect first day of summer giving the rest of the days a challenge to measure up. Love your line about photography,

    “I know!” I replied. “There’s just always that possibility that something wonderful will happen.”

    That’s why I love photography! Have an awesome summer. (Thanks for sharing…I might start turning some of my favorite photos into books.) 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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