The Prune: Summer knocks on the door, promising opportunity


A SUNRISE OVER Green Lake brings the promise of a new day and with it, personal renewal. Jeremy Stibb photo

by Todd Sharp

I’ve been living on Kale, water and powdered amino acid for the past 10 days.

Besides a few light-headed spells and seeing the occasional blue dots, I’m feeling pretty good.

Each year, each spring season, I look forward to a sunny fresh start with the dawn of a bright new summer ahead. This season I thought a cleanse was a good way to kick start the sluggish spring.

The most excruciatingly painful hurdle to overcome with this self-induced detox was caffeine separation.

After two days, my pounding noggin left me unable to focus and form complete sentences. Fortunately, the pain subsided within a day or so, focus sharpened and I was back to my normal convoluted speech patterns and rabbit hole diversions.

With springtime all aspirations seem possible. The anticipated optimism of a great political campaign, a pendant win, a super bowl champion, a hole in one, a triple-crown winner, a yellow jersey is the crystal clear vision of goals set to make our expected summers sparkle.

I hope the lessons and new patterns of healthier eating developed in the elimination cleanse will hold, the catalyst of permanent change.

I’ve always thought BIG. As a small child I believed I could compete in the major leagues. I spent hours tossing the baseball high in the air, running full speed in heroic fashion to make a diving catch and win the game.

Later in the summer, running through entire lengths of full-grown cornfields with such precise agility that I’d never get tackled.

Now I ride my bike 20 miles home each day. I don’t care how fast I go, as long as I go.

Sometimes the weather and obligations divert my quest. Today, as I climb up Stone Quarry Hill and glide past the St. Pat’s Cemetery, I’m fully aware I just burned up most of the stored fuel from the daily kale salad and still have 18 miles to go.

Each day I make it home, I’m better off for the effort and ready to eat.

I’m thinking big this summer. I plan to ride 3,000 miles on my bicycle, pedal across Iowa in a week on the Ragbrai with my girlfriend, learn to sail, make potato salad on the 4th of July with freshly dug taters, savor a buttery ear of sweet corn 3-minutes after I pick it, get the contractors to finish the garage before the snow flies.

A winning summer.

As we enter this summer season and consider the realities of the Heidel House closing, our eternal optimism will make this a year for rebuilding.

As the remaining motels, VRBO and AirBnBs offer guests a comfortable place to lay their heads, surely we’ll pull out a winning season.

Editor’s note: When not swapping kale for buttery sweet corn, Todd Sharp is selling advertising for the Green Laker, Express and The Ripon Commonwealth Press.

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