Summer, Thank you

Thank you for each of the 94 days that have passed since June 20 where I chased the sun, consciously and unconsciously.

I spent that first day of summer, the longest day of the year, the day with the most light—I spent that day chasing the light. I drove west with Ashlee following the sun. On the highway we encountered a deer, just standing on the yellow line that divided traffic. Her back was to us and she was also watching the sun. I slowed the car down thinking our presence would spook her and she’d trot off but this dear deer had no interest in getting out of our way. Why would she? She looked back at us for a moment and turned and continued staring at the sun—she, too, was mesmerized by that beautiful fire ball, or at least I imagined this creature was kindred and doing the same thing we were.

We followed the longest day over rolling prairie hills, colorful blooms finding their way to the tops of bushes, the tops of cactuses and the tops of fields. We followed all the way to an obscure small lakeside community new to us. We sat on someone’s chairs on the pier around 9:00 pm and watched the sun set a few minutes later at 9:14. Something magical happened to the water, something optical and hypnotic as the waves formed these geometric shapes that slowly morphed in and out of form. We were quiet and grateful. The moon came up reflecting on the water and pelicans swooped in to rest for the night. That was the beginning of the season.

All the days and nights between the first and last of summer were not neglected. I saw another class graduate and closed up my classroom once more—cyclically. One day that too will be done—permanently.

Thank you summer, for the flowers that spring up with the season. I was vaccinated and made great use of my plant filled porch that hosted drop in friends, family and football fans. I took myself to local brewery decks for a change of scenery and went to the beach as often as I could manage.

Regularly I kept track of the beavers and muskrats along the creek where I walked my regular 10,000 steps. Sunsets were always noted. Always.

Thank you for the hot weather that seemed to warm quickly this year and convincing clear lake water. I became more acquainted with a little place called B-Say-Tah and always wondered why more people weren’t sitting on their piers, or patios or yards. Ashlee and I would give mental gold stars to who ever was taking advantage of the summer nights outside. I spent time with my cousin and godson, hiked with my goddaughter, and celebrated both outings with ice cream.

Plenty of days were invested at my friends’ new summer cottage with bonfires, barbeques, movies projected on the side of the garage and sleep overs. Days with them are precious as they live out of country. Doing dishes at their house was a pleasure. The window over the kitchen sink faced the lake and the sunset and it was noted.

My partner and I attended a gender reveal for his daughter and with delight a healthy baby will arrive in a couple of months (gender irrelevant). He and I went west on our mountain and microbrew tour to Drumheller, Invermere, Golden, Revelstoke, Nakusp, Vernon, Penticton, Osoyoos, and Fernie—an unforgettable trip full of all the tuned in moments holidays should have with equal amounts of explore, relax and adventure. Sunsets and scenery were always noted. Always.

As short and sweet as it was I had an afternoon with a friend from Italy, a former colleague, and her personable son before they headed back to Europe.

Thank you to several nights of fireworks, some lakeside, unobstructed and impressive and some in my yard, front row fantastic. Friends fed us their gourmet fare at their cottage. I continued to hold to the tradition of Friday-night-date-night with my man and Monday night amiga hora.

Congratulations were shared with friends from Canora who were moving to Saskatoon, attending the University of Saskatoon one as student and the other as instructor.

We gathered for my sweet niece Anna who is off to college and hopefully to change the world and herself a little in all the best ways possible.

Thank you for summer time camping and stargazing the Perseid Meteor Shower at Buffalo Pound with my beautiful bestie from Washington DC and her young son, on the top of that grassy hill watching star after star tumble past the milky way having us gasp at each “look! there! another!” This is the way that memories are made. Always.

Thank you to the hosting that generally only happens in the summer. David and my sister hosted us for three days at Tobin lake, hiking, exploring, paddle boarding, playing rackets in the water. At night, sitting on the pier with my writing partner and my life partner—the three of us—also chasing falling stars and yelling three pointer when all three of us would catch sight of one sparkling across the night sky at the same time. Exploring Shannon Lake and Gem Lakes (a personal bucket list check), night fires, radio football games in the hammock and morning coffee lake side.

Clay banks was with Tanya, walking, talking and loving the never ending sky. I swear I could see to the edge of the universe on those sandy formations. Bonus: she packs a kick ass picnic.

I walked with Amanda who I haven’t seen since pre-covid and her little babes turned little kids.

An August evening with a cocktail and my latest intern, now employed (hurray) and finally so finally sitting in the chairs beach side that we saw over and over again at every lake we visited sadly empty, sadly lonely that we dared sit. Not our chairs but a spot that deserved notice and appreciation and finally we did, finding those red Adirondack chairs. We sat and awed another body of water, more pelicans, the colors in the sky and, by this time, a shorter visit with the sun.

My sister dates on purpose and by accident always left me hopeful and an accidental family gathering where my partners entire family honored my house. What a blessing to not have enough chairs or glasses!!

Wakamow Trail introduced us to the shift in season although it still wasn’t officially fall—and our picnic and laughing ’til we cried—in hysterics on the grass near the trail. Looking for one more spot we found Pelican Lake, an abandoned beach, where we sat in long sleeves. How I felt like I was on the west coast watching the sun crisp sizzle into the water of a lake I only ever saw on a map until now, bordered by a farmer’s field.

My long term bff invited me over, inside her gazebo which felt more like a tent somewhere exotic and we visited with the fire table between us, drinking wine, eating cheese and catching up.

Thank you for the perfect day at Roche Percee, a million steps and a tail gate munch out on Subway sandwiches and too much gratitude as the leaves seemed to change color right before our eyes. Somewhere in the back half of these 94 days work commenced and I walked daily but sometimes a walking commute through a park can feel like just a morning walk with no destination and that’s exactly what I am trying to manifest.

And, this past weekend, hot last Saturday of summer and vegetable deliveries from my gardener friends and family—our last official hike of summer even though half of the Qu’Appelle Valley is already bright yellow and orange fall colors.

The official last day of summer I spent walking west down a dirt road away from the city, again, chasing the sun. I’m so grateful for having the volume turned up on my days. I didn’t do a single thing that was outstanding or required a lot of money. It was time with friends, visits to lakes, road trips, meals with friends and family. These 94 days were special in their extraordinary ordinariness.

Autumn is officially here. The Equinox arrived. It’s transition time. So, thank you Summer for all those perfect days.

See you next year.

First day: 9:14 p.m.

Last day: 6:58 p.m.

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