First Day New Month

the last sunset in July, for this year

August the first sounds bad, it really does. It sounds like the end of summer vacation and the return to serious things like school, work, and responsibility. I read the quote in my Franklin Planner this morning and it read,

“There shall be Eternal summer in the grateful heart.” Celia Thaxter.

I had never heard of her so, I let my fingers do the walking and discovered she was an American poet and author in the nineteenth century. Her father was a lighthouse keeper and ran an inn and she lived her entire life in New England. In addition, she is known for running her father’s summer inn, which attracted America’s literary elite in the late 1800s, and hence she lived a summer-like existence, year-round. I suppose summer does live on in our hearts and minds. It is the motivation when the mornings are dreary, the workload enormous, or the chores unpleasant. Whatever is coming in a few weeks when school resumes will not be as much fun as summer has been.  

It is foggy on the lake and dreary out. Yesterday was warm and sunny and the sunset amazing. I had run to town and was returning when I saw the sun setting in the west. Beth was loading the boat for the photo-op and we reached the middle of the lake as the brilliant red-orange sun set against a bright blue sky fading into night. There were storms to the southwest and the sun cast its glow on them changing how they looked as it slid beneath the horizon. I can snap pictures, but I can never seem to catch the scene my eyes see. Life is not a four by six image. We returned from our lake excursion and ended the day, whimpering. The kids were tired, exhausted, and cranky and so were we it had been a long weekend starting with the kid’s canoe race Friday and ending with our sunset photo-op.

Saturday the kids slept late and I posted the race blog. The kids played on lake and I ran a few errands and barbecued chicken for dinner. We had plenty of leftover beans, cucumber salad, and a couple of hot dogs and hamburgers to make a lazy afternoon lunch and early dinner. The canoe marathon is a big deal in this town and the town seems to stop and celebrate. There is a weekend long festival downtown, a parade, and the pre-race program starts at 6:00 PM. The race begins at 9:00 PM and lasts all night ending nineteen hours later when the last paddler crosses the finish line or is disqualified for being over time. It is a grueling race. I try to avoid town but William wanted to see the parade and we drove in to town. It was hot. Town doesn’t have the benefit of a lake breeze to cool it off on a hot afternoon and it was roasting with all the shaded spots along the route were taken.

seven green shirts, left to right: winner 15-17 girls, next two boys 3rd place 12-13 boys, William and Joey, and first place - the Kolka cousins

William, Joey, and the other podium finishers in Friday’s canoe races were being honored as part of the pre-race program and we had to be back in town for it. Town is a five to seven minute drive from the lake and we made three trips Saturday: parade, pre-race program, and finally the race. The teams were honored at the beginning of the pre-race program and the boys were presented with their second place medals. We returned to the lake for dinner and to get ready for the canoe race.

 The Ausable River winds through north woods forests on its five hundred foot descent to Lake Huron 120 miles away. The canoe racers, called paddlers, paddle through the night along the narrow river, under bridges, over dams where they portage their canoes, and spectators follow along driving from town to town and bridge to bridge cheering on the paddlers. We watch the race start in town and drive to the first checkpoint, Burton’s Landing where the kids finished Friday and Beth planned to take the kids downriver to watch the race from a few more stops and I planned to go home and sleep. Beth and the kids were probably going to have more fun and I was going to get more rest. I shot video of the race start and produced it for posting, I am not expecting a Grammy for my efforts, but it gives a perspective I cannot put into words.
The Ausable River from Grayling to Oscoda - Mio is #5 on the map

We rooted for a few paddlers: Wally – our new Illinois friend, Al – an 86 year-old local paddler who is a racing legend has raced 38 times, and Tom – a paddler who has roots along the lake shore, but we encouraged all the paddlers as they passed us on their way down river.

We made it to Burton’s Landing before the first team and stayed until Wally’s canoe passed in fifty-sixth place. As canoes passed through the crowd thinned and when Wally’s canoe passed we headed back to our cars: Beth and the kids to the next stop downriver and I headed back to the cottage to follow along on the radio and computer. They followed most of the night and came home exhausted Sunday morning. When they came in Beth checked the computer for standings and then fell asleep, the kids went upstairs and crawled into bed.

It was a very quiet morning at the cottage and it lasted until early afternoon. I ran errands and took an afternoon nap. By mid-afternoon the kids were awake and playing in the lake or bicycling with their lake friends. It was that time in the weekend when folks along the lakeshore are getting ready to go home, they were picking up their yards, storing chairs, buttoning boats, and packing cars for the long ride home. The wind blew off the lake and cooled the deck and the yard. Beth and Ivy sat in the shadows, Beth read, Ivy played, and I sat under the umbrella on the deck, wrote a couple of letters, and spent the late afternoon catching up. I realized I needed a few pictures printed to include in grandma’s letter and I ran to town, hence the errand Sunday evening.  

 “There shall be Eternal summer in the grateful heart.” Celia Thaxter.

Beth reads and Ivy plays in the late afternoon breeze off the lake

Yes, there is plenty of summer to last all year. The fog has burned off the lake, Olivia and Beth are awake and the boys probably aren’t far behind. This is our last full day (tears welling up in my eyes) and there is a full day ahead. Today is 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 summer day at a time and storing them for later use.

Tom finished 18th, Al finished 31st, and Wally finished 35th. It was a great race and fun to watch. Is there a sporting event you enjoy watching or being an active spectator?

2 thoughts on “First Day New Month

    1. ahh baseball.. I loved to watch baseball until the strike, but I still get all ‘geeked up’ when my Astros are in it… I remember the summer of ’80, ’86, and the world series when they were crushed by the Sox in four close games… which was not good as I live in Chicagoland. I love sports and will watch just about anything but football is the favorite sport. I enjoy watching unusual sports or big one day events, especially the Olympics!

Thanks for visiting MtDC. How are YOU Making YOUR Days Count?