Summer’s fading

chair crop
a slice of what is to come

Yesterday morning I awoke early, too early, around four thirty, it was dark, the kind of darkness that is complete except for the light that spills over into our yard from our neighbor’s security light. I looked out onto the lake and it was dark almost black it was such deep blue. The stars covered by a blanket of invisible clouds completed the late night and early morning darkness.

Ivy was up before me, in fact, she was the reason I was up as early as I was, she was concerned with something in the yard, her yard, and letting me know in her own way, loudly. I let her out and lay down on the couch to read, or try to read. After she had searched the yard, I let her inside and she jumped up and nested between my legs at the foot of the couch, rested her head on my calf, and fell back to sleep. It wasn’t long before I joined her and drifting off with the book open on my chest.

That was how my Friday morning began, slowly. The sun was up, but concealed by clouds and the lake was shrouded in grayness. The forecast called for rain. The previous day, Thursday, had been a sunny day, warm almost cool with a steady breeze. Ivy and I had enjoyed the afternoon lying on the boat basking in the sun reading and napping. Ivy kept guard over the lake while I read my book or napped in the warm sun.

Friday began as all days do up north, or even at home, routine has its benefits – coffee, reading my e-mail, checking ball scores, and getting the day started. One e-mail struck a particular chord – my daily quote from Values dot com.


How perfect, what a wonderful quote and reminder to guide the day, to guide all days. Muhammad Ali’s quote about making the days count headlines my blog, but this too, defines what Making the Days Count dot org is all about, what it means, and why it is important.

Einstein’s words resonated with me as the cottage came to life – B woke and then O came downstairs. I made breakfast – bacon on toasted English muffins. We talked about the day – it was cool and rainy and that meant no lake and the deck is still too damp to paint; O begged to go to Petoskey. B and I mulled it over looking at our options and decided to take a daytrip to Petoskey and Harbor Springs.

Once the decision was made we jumped into action – showers and dressing, packing beach towels, sandals, getting the cooler ready with water and pop, the camera, and finally – Ivy.

Petoskey and Harbor Springs are small resort towns on Lake Michigan just north of Traverse City and about a ninety minute drive from the cottage. A daytrip means browsing shops, lunch, fudge, ice cream, and wonderful northern Michigan views – lake, hills, and countryside.

After the car was loaded and we were rolling the rain came down, at first lightly and then a downpour. The rain was brief, but hard and that was the last rain we saw. The day turned into a wonderful sunny day. Northern Michigan is mostly rolling hills – part of the Michigan Highlands and our drive took us across the divide that separates rivers that flow east to Lake Huron and west to Lake Michigan.

I have taken the path many times, as the driver and a passenger – countless summers and have places memorized – rail tracks, hills, divides curves, lakes, and shops. There are always shops. Of course, there is always a story like the one about Walloon Lake grandpa always told when we drove past. Or the time we bought our grapevine Christmas decorations in Elmira and the little antique shop along the rail line. We pulled into the parking lot and B went in, then O, and grudgingly W. I took Ivy for a walk and she sniffed and explored. I took in the sun and the scene. Our stop was brief long enough for B to browse and Ivy to take care of her business and we were back in the car.

The drive to always seems so short and we when crested the hill we could see Little Traverse Bay and Petoskey. The view never changes – the lake is a deep blue, the sky a vibrant blue, the hills are verdant green and the scene is almost magical. Pure northern Michigan.

Looking back at the day and the evening – it all went quickly. The kids were great – they got along and except for a minor skirmish in the backseat at the beginning, peace and harmony ruled the day. Ivy was a dream. She slept when we drove and patiently waited when we she needed to and walked the sidewalks like she was a city dog. It was a wonderful daytrip and the highlights included….

  • Lunch at Jesperson’s – serving sandwiches and homemade pie since 1903
  • Postcards written and mailed
  • Shopping downtown Petoskey and getting Ivy a dog bowl at a pet store named A Ruff Life
  • New sweatshirts emblazoned with UPNORTH and a t-shirt for O labeled “Lake Michigan – Unsalted”
  • The clouds and sky over northern Michigan’s hills and Lake Michigan – how can they be so puffy, large and how can the sky be so blue?
  • W taking the camera and shooting photos – I am going to ask him if he will select some photos for a photo post
  • b.may handbags, a thrift store, and a garage sale – what a contrast
  • Symons General Store and getting sandwiches for a late afternoon picnic at Petoskey State Park
  • Ice cream, fudge, and sweets
  • Sailboats, yachts, dinghies, and the Harbor Springs Marina
  • Seeing the Budweiser Clydesdales deliver beer in downtown Petoskey
  • Watching the sunset over Lake Michigan

I will let the photos below do the talking. It was a wonderful day, a magical day.

Usually the drive home is longer, or seems longer than the drive there. The kids watched a movie and B and I talked while they silently watched. Often our conversations are short and incomplete because of interjections and interruptions – not bad or annoying ones, but what all parents deal with when they have kids. It was great to talk and we were in the driveway before we realized the trip was over.

Today, this morning as I write, there are sixteen days remaining in my summer break. The kids have a few more. Football begins in ten days for W and summer will be over. The carefree days of sleeping late, reading, dreaming, swimming, fishing, boating, campfires, daytrips, shopping, fudge and ice cream will be replaced with homework, sports practices and games, writing lesson plans, grading and the routine that the school year brings. But as Einstein said,

“What counts can’t always be counted; what can be counted doesn’t always count.”

I have one more week here before I pack up head back home to responsibility and reality. I have taken signing my recent notes and e-mails… ‘still on vacation, hoping to making it permanent, resolved to coming back.’

O is up, making breakfast toasting a muffin and frying bacon and soon everyone else will be up and the cottage will be teeming with activity. Today is gonna be a great day, I know it and I can feel it, so I had better jump up, jump in and seize the day. Today is gonna be a great day. Making the Days Count one day at a time.

What makes the day count for you?

10 thoughts on “Summer’s fading

  1. Thanks for such a great article -our state is wonderful! I have bought the Lake Michigan t-shirts from Petoskey before but can’t remember the name of the store – do you because I need to purchase some more of them for Christmas presents?

    1. Joann – thanks for stopping by – I have know idea what store it is, but it is across from the pet store – A Ruff Life. I hope that helps. That ty-shirt is one of my daughter’s favorites! Have a great day and I can’t wait to get back to Michigan!

  2. What an amazing spot and way to spend a summer day! You seem to have the mosy idyllic places over in that part of the country. Plus, I love those old mom and pop type of places to eat at that have been around forever.

  3. Oh, my Clay. You are right about those clouds. I loved reading about your idyllic day. What a way to make the day truly count – for all of you. Just beautiful!!

    p.s. I didn’t know that Bud was still delivered anywhere by Clydesdales anymore. They are magnificent.

    1. the Clydesdales don’t normally deliver beer they were downtown promoting downtown bars – streets were shutdown and it was quite the event – my kids followed the wagon to the trailer and watched them load up – W took photos and I am going to urge him to do a guest post with the photos… hopefully… I don’t know what it is about the clouds and sky up here.. maybe it’s being close to the east side of a lake, or whatever, but they are spectacular. Thanks for stopping by – glad to see you!

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