Enjoying the outdoor wonders of summer

Tonight's blogapalooza topic:

What is your favorite place in the world? Is it a room? Your home? A vacation spot? Write about it!

Do I have to pick just one?  There are actually a couple that come to mind.  I absolutely love being outside, especially during spring and summer.  One of my favorite spots to soak up some Vitamin D is my backyard.  And let me clarify, I do not lay out for the purpose of tanning.  I just like being in the natural elements.

My backyard is an ideal place to relax. We have a small hot tub in the patio.  I call it my 'tub of swirling waters."  It's a great spot to decompress at the end of a long day, provided, of course, that we're not in the middle of a heat wave.

I also like to enjoy some quiet prayer time or a good book in my backyard hammock.  It's on an old metal stand and the hammock is red, white, and blue, so you might think it was made right here in the USA.  Actually, my husband bought it while on a mission trip to Costa Rica.  Come to think of it, I need to replace that hammock, as some one recently hit it with the lawn mower.  I won't name any names, but it wasn't me.

On the edge of our property is a little patch of woods, with a slightly winding path carved out as a shortcut to the neighbor's house, which I visit regularly.  Our property only has a few tress on it, so when I walk along that lush leafy path, I feel as though I'm being transported to another world.  It reminds me of the wooded hideaways in the Chronicles of Narnia.

I have used that well-trodden path many times.  Just recently, on a lazy Sunday afternoon, my neighbors invited me to enjoy their pool and partake of some amazing grilled chicken.  Sometimes I take the shortcut to their house, my arms laden with groceries, to cook them a midweek meal, especially when things get really busy for them.

On the short trek back home, I am often joined by their dog, Vader, who's gotten to know me so well that he comes inside with me.  I get to vicariously enjoy a pet's company without having to feed or clean up after him.

The next runner-up on my list of favorite outdoor hangouts would have to be anywhere along Lake Michigan, especially during the summer, although it's not unheard of for me and my family to walk on the beach during an especially mild spell in the winter.

I love cruising along Lake Shore Drive and admiring the waves and different colors of the water, depending on the weather and seasons.  Sometimes the waves churn turbulently, reflecting the sullen gray sky overhead.  At other times, the water is such a bright, crisp shade of blue, it's tempting to take your eyes of the road to be captivated by it.

When I was a student at Northwestern, I was always looking for an excuse to spend time at the lake.  It was there that I pored over stats problems or wrote the outline for a research paper.  During finals week, my friends and I would pull all-nighters at the student center or some other building near the water.  When we needed to take a break, we walked along the winding paths bordering the lake.

I like to visit the Chicago beaches, especially downtown or on the North Side, but when we're looking for something a little less populated, my family and I like to go to Beverly Shores, Indiana.   I love that you can enjoy the sound of the tide without going all the way to the ocean.

As I write this, a full moon is rising over the treetops, illuminating everything in majestic splendor.  I must sign off now; my backyard beckons.

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