When everything is perfect

"Van der Neer - Moonlit Landscape with Bridge" by Aert van der Neer Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

“Moonlit Landscape with Bridge” by Aert van der Neer
Licensed under public domain via Wikimedia Commons

“Every summer there are a number of nights, not many, but a number, when everything is perfect. The light, the warmth, the smells, the mist, the birdsong – the moths. Who can sleep? Who wants to?”Fredrik Sjöberg

During summer, my tendency to be a night owl kicks into overdrive.  The longer daylight hours fool me into thinking it’s much earlier than it actually is, and the delights of summer make the prospect of going to sleep less tempting than it is during the colder, darker months.

I’ve often wondered why someone who loves to sleep as much as I do seems to have such trouble getting enough of it.  It’s not just because I’m a restless sleeper; it’s also because I’m eager to spend more time enjoying all the things there are in this world to enjoy.  I suppose this can be a form of greed at times, but it’s hard not to savor bliss when it is available, knowing how hard to come by it might be later.

Even if you’re an early-to-bed type, I hope you will be able to stay up and enjoy at least an hour or two of a perfect summer night.  According to online sources I checked, we have another full moon coming up on August 10.  Maybe you can schedule yourself a couple of hours for stargazing or just sitting outside after the temperatures have cooled.  Those of you south of the equator, check back here in about six months!  I wish you a starry, starry night full of enchantment!

One year ago today:

Our ordinary days


  1. Good morning, Julia! I had a delightful evening last night – except the rain kept me in (it needn’t have); I so enjoy the sounds of a good rain. I tell myself to go to bed and save some energy for the sunrise, or for staying up on an evening more conducive to enjoying the out of doors, but the quiet and peace beckon me to stay and indulge.
    Then I tell myself – I’ll go to bed early tomorrow!

    • Susan, how familiar! I am always planning to go to bed early tomorrow. I must admit, a rainy night is almost as enticing an invitation to stay up late as a perfect summer night. I love, love, love the sound of rain – so much so that we sleep with fake electronic rain sounds on our white noise machine every night! We started that almost 15 years ago.

  2. You might enjoy this Julia. :o)

    The blistering summer sun
    gives way to the night.
    I can smell the honey suckle
    and gardenia wafting in the night air.
    The heavens open up and the stars
    make their appearance.
    The nightingale croons its’ song to me.
    The crickets join the chorus.
    The grass is cool beneath my feet
    the hustle and bustle of the hot summer
    day gives way to the heavens above.
    I look up and the moon smiles at me.

    • Patricia, thank you! I did enjoy it; I love the images it brings to mind. Did you write it? One of the earliest memories I can recall is of a dream I had, that I had fallen down one moonlit night and was crying, and the moon was crying with me. Much more pleasant to have him smiling!

  3. raynard

    Julia, all the walking, driving that I do at work,,8pm my body shuts down.There is no need to the TV watching me.. lol.If I get off my schedule just a bit, playing catch up is ” so passe for me anyway. Spent time with my 2 youngest daughters for my birthday. Have alot of catching up to do maybe over” driving lessons” church picnic”and ” housesitting”. and those 2 gave me a cookbook for a present. I have to get ready cause next month is all 3 of their birthday’s..Next week I will be working nights while my boss is on vacation. I can catch up on my e-books and get ready for the bake off at the church picnic.. Oh that pie I was talking about is called North Atlantic Pie. It’s like a key lime but the crust is made from saltine crackers and you can use merangue or cream cheese as your topping. I might have to go to Plan B , a trifle either lemon berry or gingerbread.. be blessed

    • Raynard, you sound like Jeff. He has always had an on/off switch seemingly built into his brain that I envy. If you don’t catch him before 10 or 10:30, you can try again tomorrow! Hey, Happy Birthday! (a bit late) – I’m glad you got to be with your daughters. A cookbook must be a perfect gift for you. A Key Lime pie with cream cheese sounds amazing; I don’t think I’ve ever had one but it would be perfect I think. Plan B sounds good too, though, you can’t lose!

  4. I was touched so deeply by the “missing Daddy” link Alys posted. It is one of the tragedies of the human condition that a beautiful, encouraging scene to one person brings the foreboding sadness of near-despair to another. “Born to Organize”, if you read this, I am personally moved by the little nine-year-old girl who did not understand why August days were so troubling. Thank you for enriching my life with your story!

    • I loved that post too, Eric. Alys is a gifted writer, one of many talents she has.

  5. Julia,
    So seldom do we get to experience that perfect moment, that we should linger and hold onto it, for as long as it lasts. Summer like Fall, I believe, living in New England, both are seasons that offer quite a few of those perfect moments.

    • Alan, I can readily believe that, based on what little time we have been able to spend in New England. Jeff and I both love it there. The combination of the cool weather, history, picturesque towns and beautiful sights is totally enchanting. I might not even mind the snow — for a week or two, anyway, preferably at Christmas! 😀

  6. Carolyn

    Good morning Julia, I’m outside today and it feels wonderful. Our summer has been a good one. Some hot days and then comes the cool ones. I love being in a cool shade. Hope everything is well with the family. I have’t seen much about your two young men. Pray all is well. We are doing okay, Terry had a b’day last week,71, and I just gain weight eating cake and home made ice cream. My eyes are doing as well as can be right now. I see the doctor again 14 of August and she will tell me if I need more surgery on the right eye. The prism helps but would like for the double vision to go away. Guess that’s about it for now take care, hugs and love to all.

    • Hi Carolyn, I’m so glad you are having a pretty day! I’m sorry, though, that your vision is still not where it needs to be. I hope it can be corrected without too much more hassle or pain. We are all doing fine, not much happening with us right now, so no real news. Jeff had chemo again today and he is starting to feel more tired from it now, which he hopes means that it’s working. Tomorrow is Grady’s birthday and I wish I was there, but we sent him a goody box and hopefully we will get to see him again before too long. Drew did have an article published online just this week – it’s about baseball, though, so it might be more interesting for Terry than for you…you can read it here: http://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2014/07/life-under-instant-replay Thanks for keeping us updated – and a belated happy birthday to Terry! As I mentioned to Patricia, 71 is sounding younger and younger to me! Love to you both.

  7. MaryAnn

    Fortunately for me, there was some recycle trash that needed to be taken out last night. The sky was ALIVE with marvelous colors! Needless to say, it took me over an hour to get back in the house. The sky changed color so many times, I was in joyful overload! I was happily singing & being thankful! It thrills me to know that you cherish God’s Beauty as much as I do.

    • Mary Ann, that’s you and me at the right side of that painting, standing outside the Vacaville creek walk after one of the summer concerts. Not TOO much of a stretch! Or maybe that’s the Suisun waterfront after the fireworks. 😀 I’m glad your recycling took you outside tonight. I just got back in from a lovely evening walk. Communing with you across the continent!

      • MaryAnn

        Perfect wording for what I was feeling as I typed how thrilled I am that we share the love of nature together, miles apart! Yes, you & I ARE in this painting being in awe of our Heavenly Father as He shows Himself to us!

        • And Paul and Jeff are in the house saying “do you think they realize we can hear them from in here?” 😀

          • MaryAnn

            I am giggling OUT LOUD! What a joy!

            • 😀 😀 😀 You must admit that’s a reasonable prediction!

              • MaryAnn

                That is why it is SO funny, because our men enjoy watching us be ourselves as we become “silly” about the things we love!

  8. My goodness that picture is stunning. There is something magical about those perfect summer nights Sjoberg wrote of. I agree that there are many times where I want them to last much longer than they do. When I look at the bright rich reds and oranges of a sunset against the golden outline of clouds from the setting sun or when I’m sitting on the patio with dear friends as we laugh over stories. Sigh. Those are the best days. I say enjoy your summer nights to the fullest and soak up every moment of joy. It’s good for the soul and like you said, who knows when such perfect days will come again…. This post blessed me today. Thank you 🙂

    • Jenelle, the post from a year before is when you started your winning “streak” by figuring out who the couple-to-be were! Yes, I thought that painting was beautiful and I don’t remember ever having seen it before; I also couldn’t remember ever having heard of the artist. Not that that means anything, since I have never heard of most great artists. 😀 Today has been such a total frustration in most respects that I hope to redeem it at least somewhat by taking an evening walk in just a little while. I’m so happy the post was a blessing to you!

  9. bobmielke

    I too love to sleep. We’re blessed in the Pacific Northwest with cool evenings even though we might reach into the 90s during the day. I’m glad it takes time to reach our highs and that after the sun goes down we return to the low 60s. My sister still lives in Aiken SC where it only cools to the mid-80s after each scorching day during their hot and humid climate. I know now why I decided to retire right here in Portland, OR. 🙂

    • Bob, that sounds like the Central Coast (California) weather that I used to love so much. I used to tell people that we had as much variation in temperature in a 24-hour period as we had the entire year, and that was not far off. But the plants and flowers loved it. Misty fog in the mornings, burning off to sunshine in the afternoons, then a wonderfully cool warmth (if that makes sense) every evening, and rain only in the winter. You picked a great spot for retirement! Probably not as expensive as CA, either.

      • bobmielke

        Property values and rents are sky high. One of the top three states for high gas prices. We have no sales tax on anything. Food prices are high but if you know how to shop there are bargains to be had. Trader Joes, Grocery Outlet stores and farmer’s markets get you the best deals. I love it here.

        • Sometimes it’s worth paying more if what you get in return makes it a good investment. I didn’t realize Oregon was so expensive. We love Trader Joe’s and I told Jeff I would refuse to retire anywhere that we couldn’t shop there easily!

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