At the moment, I’m on Whidbey Island, sitting in Serenity. Both dogs are curled up next to my leg, enjoying the dappled sunlight falling through the evergreens. There’s a morning chill in the air, enough so that I’m wearing a sweatshirt and socks while I wait for R to come wandering by so we can talk about plans for the day, which I hope include washing the van. I finished off the last of my Pennsylvania blueberries this morning, with some absolutely phenomenal Greek yogurt and pretty darn good granola. (I think I overdid it on the sunflower seeds in that batch.)

Yesterday, we went to the beach and it was brilliantly clear and sunny, hot enough to feel the burn on the back of my neck, while the water was so cold that it bit. We could see snow-capped Mount Whitney in the distance. A bald eagle flew by overhead, close enough to see its white head and tail. Zelda slept in the sand, as thoroughly asleep as if she were safe at home, tired out from multiple long walks through the woods.

blue sky, ocean, mountain in the distance

Mount Whitney in the distance

Last night, we ate sous vide steak, mashed potatoes, and sautéed zucchini for dinner, finishing it off with a strawberry-nectarine crisp topped with vanilla ice cream. Such a summer meal, such a summer place. Lying in bed in Serenity, I could see the moon and the stars and hear owls hooting. It was the closing moment of July and I was perfectly content.

On the other hand, before I declare that the best moment of the month, July also included lunch with my dad in North Carolina. Walking along the beach with my niece. Picking blueberries with my brother. Ice cream with my aunt. Being mystified by my insta-pot with E in Ohio, and then eating spicy sweet potato hash when I was really hungry. (I think the hunger made the hash more delicious.) Admiring the Badlands & Mount Rushmore. Seeing a moose in Montana. Cooking salmon at the scenic overlook.

In terms of places, I’ve been in three driveways, two houses, and three state parks (two in PA, one in Ohio). Also three independent campgrounds — the KOA in PA, and the two in Montana. And a lot of parking lots, so many that I think I’ve lost count. Five or six, though. Walmart, Cabela’s, Flying J ‘s. Omitting the driveways, if I was going to pick a place to go back to, it would be Spring Creek in Big Timber, Montana, definitely. If I was going to pick a driveway? All of them, I like them all. But I very much like this one, both because it’s a lovely place and because right now I get to go spend time with R.

If I was going to paint July of 2017, it would include much gold and green and brilliant blue. It was a beautiful month!