An Early Summer Morning


I’m not much of one for exercise. I know I should move more but tend not to.

When I come home from an early morning summer walk, though, I wonder why I don’t do this every day. A walk like this gives new meaning to that old song, “morning has broken, like the first morning.”

Shadows make me and my cat-who-believes-he-is- a-dog appear taller than we really are.


We deliver maple syrup to my mother and her husband, who are already making pancakes—it is Sunday, after all. The cat opts to stay with them.

I can walk down the middle of the road if I want to, and I do, just because I can.

I see only three other people in the 3-plus miles I walk.

Our 80-something neighbor, the Energizer Bunny, out weeding her gardens and laughing at me for getting exercise in as artificial a way as taking a walk, when I, too, could be weeding.

The neighbors who make the rustic furniture, heading off to sell at the farmer’s market, where the rich folk from downstate buy expensive pieces for their summer camps.

The big guy walking his tiny dog and begging it to finish up so he can go back home for another cup of coffee.

I see a lot more animals than people.

The doe and her fawn way off at the edge of the field—I took a photo but it didn’t translate.

The bunnies who tear away from me, with their cottontails high.

The squirrels who are busy, following some imperative to mate or gather nuts or whatever squirrels do in their spare time.

I see the cardinals and the hummingbird.


And these guys.

I hear all the other birds—the kingfisher and songbirds I can’t name. I follow the sound of tiny tapping to see the littlest woodpecker ever, getting its breakfast.

The only bird I don’t hear is the neighborhood rooster who cockle doodles his doo all day long but never, it seems, in the early morning.

The flowers, too, seem most striking early.

I know I will spend the day listening to children squeal, as they dunk themselves from a small sailboat or paddleboard. But they are, as yet, silent, still sleeping off the sugar-high hangover from one s’more too many.

Right now, the sailboats are at the moorings, the big beach towels are still dry and waiting on the line. No jet skis or deep-throated bass boats mar the quiet.

There are smells, too. The lake is low this year and, frankly, sort of whiffy. Someone mowed grass last night and the campfires still waft faint wood smoke.

The breeze is chilly this early but the sun is rising hot on my back.

Is there anything better than a quiet summer morning?

Nope, except, maybe, a summer sunset . . .


72 thoughts on “An Early Summer Morning

  1. Mornings in June are the very best, partly because it smells the best. July follows closely behind — the scents aren’t as strong but the wildflowers are more abundant. Jim and I usually walk early, more days than not. I love the sights and smells and sounds of summer mornings.

  2. I love my early morning walks! This spring I really enjoyed watching all the babies grow up while circling through the park. I watched 21 Canada geese babies, about 15 mallards, and a batch of 12 wood ducks! It was amazing to actually see them grow and change over the weeks. Your photos are wonderful! I’m inspired to take my camera out now. 🙂

    • To be honest, the photos were taken with my phone, which explains why the deer and fawn one didn’t come out–they were just too far away. We see a lot of baby water birds growing up, too. I worry about them all, though, because there are predators and they get hungry, too . . .

    • I didn’t know that you didn’t have hummingbirds there! They really are fun to see–I usually hear them first–their little wings make a whirring sound. They love that honeysuckle and show up regularly. One of the cats climbed the trellis like a ladder last week, trying to get to the birds . . . (no success–whew!)

    • It’s a lot easier to get poetic about summer than winter, don’t you think? Even though I like winter, I don’t get transported in quite the same way . . .

    • The range of personalities among cats always amazes me–I have two that are quite dog-like. They trot right along on walks and seem to look for more interaction with humans than the others, who are pure cat, all aloof, etc.

  3. Apart from the slightly whiffy smell of your lake it sounds absolutely delicious! I love early morning walks in the summertime too, not so much in the winter …….. We don’t have hummingbirds here and I read so many blog posts where they feature – They sure are amazing little creatures! I like the image of you wandering down the middle of the road with your cat-who-believes-he’s-a-dog at your heels. Does he really keep company for three miles? Mine comes maybe 50 metres and calls it a day. 🙂 i was delighted to see the first signs of the daffodils coming through the grass on the bank during our late morning walk through the icy-wind-blown park yesterday – there are better days coming for our morning walks!

    • I think the cat would come the whole way, if I encouraged him. I don’t because a) he’d get tired and I’d have to carry him, b) he’d slow me down because his legs are so short, and c) I don’t want him get any ideas about wandering that far away on his own. Luckily, my mom lives down the way during the summer and I drop him off there and keep going! And, as you start to look forward to spring, I need to start thinking about autumn . . .

  4. Morning walks rock! You captured it all: the sights, the smells, the anticipation of the coming day. I do love summer. Thanks for taking us on your walk. Three miles to deliver syrup doesn’t sound like someone who doesn’t move much!

    • Three miles is a good walk for me. If I did it every day, I’d be thrilled with myself! I have a 2-mile option, a 3-mile option, and a 4-mile option–the 4-mile one is really lovely, too. Part of my problem is that I have so much else I want to do with my days, I get antsy about the time it takes to make the walk . . .

  5. Magnificent prose and, if possible, even better photos. I have hummingbirds on three different feeders scattered throughout the yard and have never been able to take a photo as good as yours.
    We are in a moderate drought this year. I think we’re about 6 or 7 inches down. You must be down some too if the lake level is any indication.

    • Thank you, Susan! I worry all the time about the hummingbirds–one of the cats climbed the honeysuckle trellis like a ladder last week, trying to catch one of the birds. I don’t think he’s fast enough but . . . yikes. We’re having what I’d say is a moderate drought, too, although I don’t know the stats. I do know that, between a low-snow winter and less-than-normal rain, the lake is lower than I can remember. I have to hope for a lot of snow this winter, I guess!

  6. What a beautiful reflection on early morning forays. In the summer, early morning is a much more comfortable time to get out–not too hot yet. Although our route is just through our neighborhood, we have seen deer, rabbits and for the past couple years, hawks. And early morning is so good for reflection. Thanks for sharing your wildlife with us, Kerry!

    • We see hawks, too, and osprey because we are close to the lake! I agree that these early morning outings are the best for reflection–I don’t want to listen to music, just look and listen.

  7. Summer mornings are just so lovely. However, this has been my summer of sleeping late which is a beautiful thing in itself. Thank you so much for your gorgeous imagery, both photographic and written.

    • I only wish I could sleep in! My internal clock is just set early, I guess–I can’t remember the last time I slept past 4:30. I quite value an afternoon nap . . .

  8. Fabulous! And I completely empathise with your sentiments about not wanting to go out, but then really enjoying it when you do. I feel exactly the same and always wonder why I don’t do more walking when I am actually doing it! 🙂

    • That honeysuckle plant, on our pergola, is a hummingbird magnet and, once they show up, they tend to stay for quite awhile. It means that, if I have the camera nearby, I get multiple chances for a decent photo!

  9. Looks like a wonderful walk. I should take more of them too, but mostly on my day of, I like staying in. I do try to take short walks after work, or during work to the mailbox. Love the picture of you and your cat, and the one with the hummingbird! Did you take that one with your phone?

    • No, the hummingbird was taken with my “real” camera. The camera has a sports mode that can shoot many photos really fast, which helps with those quick little birds!

  10. Another beautiful post from you, Kerry. I love walking and do it as much as I can. I have three friends that I walk with regularly and then try to walk with Mike in the evenings, too. It’s been harder in the summer when the day stays hot much longer. We love the spring and autumn walks the best.

    Your photos are magnificent. Mouse the cat circles the block with us, but he’s exhausted by the time we reach home. I’ve also been know to carry him the last stretch, and the distance is less than a mile. He’s a character that one.

    • Summer walks must be pretty enervating where you live! I really should go out more than I do–I’m happy every time I do it. Maybe you should get a bike, with a basket, for Mouse!

  11. We did a morning hike to Senaca Rocks, WV yesterday on our way the county fair. The trail sign warned that the hike was 1.5 miles long with a 1000 foot elevation change. Hmmm. We can walk to our mail box the long way, which is 1.25 miles long with an 800 foot elevation change. Just a stroll. Story and photos to follow. Keep the camera ready for the interesting shot.

  12. One of the things I talk with my patients about all the time is how hard it is to get started on a regular walking / exercise program, even though we all acknowledge how great we feel when we do it. Then once we start, it is too easy to get right back out of the routine.
    You have captured all the reasons that walking is so great, especially early in the morning.
    Good for you for getting out there and for sharing it with us.
    I managed to keep up my morning walk while on vacation last week. I figured that iwas the best way for me to continue to eat and drink 🙂
    Love all the photos!

    • I was doing a physical therapy regimen last year, for my knees and for flexibility, and for months I was perfect and so very proud of myself and then . . . i stopped. I am still irritated with myself and really trying to get the mojo to get back to it . . .

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