In mid-summer the Main Street in our little town buzzes with cars and visitors. People from other locales sometimes drive hundreds of miles north to splash in Lake Superior, to camp in the Baraga State Park, to tour the Copper Country. Our quiet little world turns into a beehive of activity.
I swear there’s never a dull moment in July and August.
Might you be bored? You can pick strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, thimbleberries. You can kayak, fish, swim, canoe, float or sun-bathe. You can plant a garden, or how about drive to the county fair this upcoming weekend? I suppose you’ve already attended the Native American Pow Wow, the 4th of July parades, the Aura Jamboree, and, of course, the Fireman’s Tournament last weekend.
Folks blossom like flowers come mid-summer here in the Upper Peninsula. The energy moves outward toward the sun. People open their doors and screened windows and enjoy the outdoors. They gather with friends. They play. Oh, how people play on their four-wheelers, their boats, their bikes, their two legs.
As a sometimes-wanna-be-hermit, I am always amazed at this intense shift toward outward energy at this time of year. We have been so pleasantly busy during the last week or so that it’s nice to take a deep breath and have nothing to do today. (OK, if we’re not counting the sink full of dishes and the laundry and gardening which needs attention pretty darn soon. And, oh yes, my jobs. Can’t forget those even in summer’s busyness.)
Let me share some of the fun of the past week, may I?
Last Thursday eve several women found themselves in a circle of lawn chairs with bare toes in sand out at the Mouth of the Huron. This is an often almost deserted stretch of lovely beach far out from town. Years ago our crew camped there every summer and celebrated while friends roasted a pig for the Saturday potluck. Our kids swam and built sand castles and played with friends and we camped in big tents listening to the waves lap against the shore.
On Thursday night we sipped wine and shared hummus and salty blue chips and Crazy Joe’s Cucumber Salsa and deviled eggs and veggie sticks and watched the orange-orbed sun sink beneath trees on the horizon. Temperature? Balmy. Perfect mid-summer bliss. Children laughed and shouted in the distance. Kayakers paddled by. We chatted as women do, enjoying the company of friends, catching up.
Can summer get any better than this?
The next night: vegetarian lasagna rich in garden vegetables, tossed green salad, garlic bread fresh from the oven, and heavenly blueberry cobbler with friends in their screened-in porch. Afterwards, a tour of their gardens. We plucked blueberries from their tended plants and lingered in the greenhouse. We shared stories. We saw a video of their new baby grandson who could almost–almost, mind you–roll over.
Can summer get any better than this?
During the weekend Barry took the chainsaw and we pruned away low-growing branches threatening to interfere with our lawn mowing and winter plowing. We lugged the fallen warriors into the woods. Gosh, this place looks cleaned up now. Especially with the garden rototilled, the lawn mowed, and the weeds whacked.
After a township meeting on Monday night, Book Club met on Tuesday eve. Picture a table laden with salads galore. So many salads and chips and salsas and tapioca puddings and lemon bars that the eight women could hardly move when they finally alighted two-and-a-half hours later after laughter and conversation and a little book discussion to boot. We read Cheryl Strayed’s book “Wild”. I fully recommend the true story of her hike along the Pacific Crest Trail. Most of our book club readers enjoyed it, but not everyone.
And last night, you wonder. Did we do anything last night? Of course we did. Amy and Michael, who dwell down in western Illinois, trekked up to the Upper Peninsula more than a week ago. They’ve been enjoying the place where Amy grew up, and arrived laden with two bottles of delicious red wine.
Yesterday I spent the afternoon in the kitchen creating a white bean pesto salad, fresh garden salad, and grapefruit-avocado salsa for the Keweenaw Bay whitefish which Barry later grilled. Add sourdough bread and blueberry crisp and, oh yes, appetizers of pickled pike and smoked lake trout and chips and you have another successful summer dinner with lively and entertaining friends here in our Little House in the Big Woods.
Let’s not ponder the pile of dishes in the sink just yet.
And you? What have you been doing lately? Has your energy moved outwards like the daisies and sunflowers growing toward the sun? Have you found yourself more surrounded with friends than in the white cold of winter? Wishing you the best of lazy hazy crazy summer days…