The first week of August hangs at the very top of the summer, the top of the live-long year, like the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning. The weeks that come before are only a climb from balmy spring, and those that follow a drop to the chill of autumn, but the first week of August is motionless, and hot. It is curiously silent, too, with blank white dawns and glaring noons, and sunsets smeared with too much color. Often at night there is lightning, but it quivers all alone. There is no thunder, no relieving rain. These are strange and breathless days, the dog days, when people are led to do things they are sure to be sorry for after.
– Tuck Everlasting
(Note: I didn’t take any of these pictures. They’re all ganked from the internet.)
It’s nice to be back in the burg after RAGBRAI, the Des Moines Register’s Annual Great Ride Across Iowa. For the thirty-ninth year in a row, a group of cyclists rode their bikes from the Missouri to the Mississippi – this year we numbered over 15,000! It takes seven days and 470 miles. The stop-over towns are often tiny, so the cyclists set their tents up wherever they can – in backyards, street medians, the front lawns of banks and high schools – an enormous flash tent-city.
Enroute I stopped to swim in six lakes and a river. Kids with hoses sat outside and sprayed passing cyclists to cool them down. Churches and Scout troops set up booths and sold cookies and Gatorade, and once in a while some fun-loving individuals who live along the route set up slipnslides or kiddie pools for riders to stop and play in. One farmer set a litter of just-born piglets in a pen near the road with a sign reading “One day old piglets!”
OH MAN and there were two guys with mustaches riding these:
RAGBRAI’s route changes every year, and this time it went through Grinnell, the hometown of Tiny Circus. Several Circus members rode RAGBRAI with me, and in Grinnell we had an outdoor screening of short animations for the cyclists and locals.
Now that I’m ensconced at HUB-BUB once more, I’m busy making a lobster puppet for a puppet show version of Leo Leonni’s book Swimmy, which collective The That is putting on for Spartanburg TEDx.
You can go here to watch a simpler, but still awesome, version of what they’ll be doing.
Finally, did any of you read Scary Stories to tell in the Dark when you were a kid? I leave you with The Slithery-Dee… (ONLY CLICK ON THIS IF YOU ARE VERY VERY BRAVE!!!!!!!!!)