It’s yet another Sunday morning. This one finds me in Michigan, for perhaps the last time for a while. It’s the end of summer. Summer has been ending for us for the last few weeks. The end began with school re-starting; first with me, then the kids. I’ve been back at school for over two weeks and had kids in my classroom for ten full days. William and Olivia have been back in school for nine days and we find ourselves at the official end of summer – Labor Day weekend.
Labor Day weekend means the end of summer – completely. It’s time to put away summer and get ready for fall, then winter. Here at the cottage it means pulling the boats out of the lake, cleaning them, and storing them until next summer. There is the final yard cleanup. The deck furniture goes into the garage and the snow blower moves up front and the mower goes into hiding. Bikes go up, everything associated with warm and sunny days – swimming, boating, and playing outside is put away for the summer.
We drove up after school Friday evening and ran into traffic jams along the way. We weren’t the only ones trying to escape the city and celebrate one last day at the lake. It took us a little less than eight hours and we were all exhausted when we arrived. I unpacked the car, the kids went upstairs, climbed in to bed, and fell asleep, and Ivy sniffed around – remembering.
It had rained hard Friday at the cottage, and again overnight, and the yard was soaked; perfect for pulling weeds, but not good for being outside in the yard and we decided to sleep as late as we could – NO ALARMS! Saturday morning came quickly, too quickly. William came into wake me and report the cover on Ely boat had blown off and the boat was soaked inside. He removed the tarp, taken it into the garage, and re-covered Ely boat with a plastic sheet. All on his own. Though it comes in fits and starts, William is an amazing young man; he is growing up becoming more responsible right before my eyes.
I checked the forecast and saw more rain was on the way; summer at the cottage was warm, dry and perfect for summer activities so I suppose it’s only fair that it rains when summer ends. We decided to go out for breakfast and run a couple of errands then work in the afternoon saving Sunday afternoon play and the lion’s share of the cleanup.
By midafternoon, the rain had stopped and the sun was out. It dried the deck and warmed the yard. I drained the basketball goal and pulled weeds. The beds were wet enough that they came out easily and my work went quickly. Beth joined in and soon we had cleaned the beds and were on to moving rocks along the lake wall. Every winter ice covers the lake and every spring when the lake thaws, it pulls rocks along the lake wall into the lake. Every summer we throw the rocks back up onto the lake wall. It’s a cycle and one of the jobs we do before summer ends. We hooked Ivy up to her tether and she played in the lake while we worked. William jumped and helped move rocks, we were done quickly, and then it was time to pull Ely boat out. William and Olivia took their last ride of the summer and met us at the boat launch. Beth drove and backed the trailer into the water and we were waiting when the pulled in. William cut the engine and Ely boat floated onto the trailer. After a couple of adjustments on the trailer, Ely boat was out of the water and on its way to winter storage in the garage.
The days have gotten shorter and darkness came quickly. I grilled burgers, hot dogs, and chicken and made baked beans and cucumber salad for dinner. We ate dinner and then cleaned up for the night. College football was on and I watched out of the corner of my eye before lying down in front of the television and falling asleep. William, Olivia, and Beth did the same. The television was blaring when I woke up stiff on the floor beside a conked out Ivy; I turned it off and went to bed for the night.
It’s Sunday morning and it is cool, sunny, and a beautiful day. We’ve got work to do. It’s always sad when summer ends, but it brings fall and the change from hot to cool, from green to reds, oranges, and yellows and from play to work. It’s gonna be a great day, possibly the best day ever, so I had better jump up, jump in and seize the day. Making the Days Count, one day at a time and even a final summer day at a time. What are you doing this Labor Day weekend to mark the end of summer?