I looked at my bedside clock the other morning, at 4:06, and there was a lovely glow outside my windows. I listened for the robins, but it was totally quiet except for the lapping of the water. Why weren’t they singing, and then I realized it was moonlight, high over head, that was brightening the sky, not light from the east. Don said that it was the first morning in which he knew summer was on the backside.
Lordy Lordy! We had an old friend who grew up in the Flathead Valley and he always said that you could predict the rest of summer’s weather by how things turned out the first week-end of August. There have been many seasons in which he was right–cool and blustery that first week-end– and, essentially, good old summertime was over. There was another long-time Valley resident–a stunning photographer of cowboys–who wrote, “You can live all of a Summer, in one day, on Flathead Lake.”
So, donning my best carpe diem attitude, I went out in the kayak, and cruised along the shadows on the shoreline in the cool morning. Except for a boat or two on the opposite side of the lake, and a cheery yellow seaplane which flew low overhead, it was quiet. Nobody was even out on their dock, sipping hot coffee in a bathrobe. I had the world to myself. I like to look at the gatherings of furniture near the water and imagine who has come to that place for the Summer. Usually, there are just a pair of chairs or a log swing made for two. At the grander homes, there might be seven or eight teak loungers with fat custom-made cushions in that color of green which you see old canoes painted. One house had six Adirondack chairs, each in a different primary color. And there are little colorful plastic children’s chairs around fire pits, left out after a night of s’mores.
Coming home into port, my own home looks poised for the company which trickles in this week. Down by the little cabin and fire pit, six chairs and a couple of picnic table benches are in waiting. On the grass near the dock, four wicker chairs and a teak bench, and a stack of red beach chairs are leaned against a tree. There’s been a quiet lull here as summer now reaches its 80+ degree temperatures. The house is fluffed and refrigerator is stocked; I even began reading a 640 page book which just arrived in the mail. Tomorrow, I’ll drive to Missoula to greet Norah as she gets off the plane, flying alone for her very first time. By the time my family has come and gone, we will be well into the month of August, and soon I’ll be talking about Autumn knocking at our door.