Postcard from Mille Lacs Lake, Minnesota (and ode to Summer)

a canoe rides into a blue sunset


Fireworks whiz bang, exploding from various points along the bowl that makes up Wahkon Bay. It seems that, in addition to the local, legal display of mortars saluting freedom in the skies above, also a handful of individuals have taken it upon themselves to do so as well. Our stomachs are full of burgers I grilled for us earlier, while the boys set off kiddie fireworks, the only kind a person can buy without some type of permit here in Minnesota.

In the past two weeks we’ve ridden on big ol’ tour boats and rented pontoons in Lake Superior. The kids have dipped their toes in those frigid waters and we’ve all gone head under in these, Lake Mille Lacs, more moderate temperatures. The Lady and I have competed with big wake in a tippy canoe. We plan to kayak down a river just as soon as one presents itself.

Being on the water, the Fourth of July in full bloom, and summer feeling its full swing, nothing can top these moments. Our family finds contention on the road, just as we do in a stick house. But as heated as our arguments can be, as hot as the sun might blaze down over blown tires and poorly planned national holiday stays, we are thriving in this environment.

On the first official day of summer, back in June, it was brought to our collective attention that the days would, from there on out, grow shorter. As though the first day of summer was a warning that daylight is already waning. We talked about how there is true summer, June 21st to September 21st, and agreed summer, the months that children are out of school. Memorial Day begins that latter version of summer, and Labor Day marks its last hurrah. The Fourth of July, then, is the mid-way point.

But it’s not a cup half-empty sort of midway. Rather, it’s a reminder. A “get up and go” type of warning. You’ve dilly dallied away June enough, and you deserve that…forgetting about time all through lazy summer days are half of the point of this rarest of seasons. But as July rolls around and then begins to slowly disappear, it’s a big neon road sign. “Hey, get your ass out kayaking, hike a mountain, campfire, grill out, cook out, barbecue, skateboard, ride bikes, throw around a frisbee, get a tan, be HOT!”

Soon enough Autumn will be here, beckoning us after hoodies and tricks-or-treats and changing colors. But today is the summertime, live that like a dream you’re still fully in and aware of, but know you’ll wake up from at any moment.