August has slipped by with a kind of Parisian ennui, and great decisions loom. Will we heat the cabin over the winter? Will this be the year when the deer finally do in the holly bushes, or should we go back to protecting them once again?
These are lake decisions and now with September upon us and closing time coming they assume great importance.
But I can defer them for a bit, and I would rather think back over the departing summer. There’s good news. Two years ago, the homeowners’ association shut down the lodge operation —no more paying guests who “catch and keep,” taking fish home for dinner. With their departure, our fishing has improved dramatically: nice-size bass, carefully caught and released.
Insect variety seems to be on the uptick, too. White Flower Farm, of Litchfield, CT supplies wonderful plants, although my skills are largely limited to day lilies in sun and hostas for shade. This spring, we put in their “Hummingbird-Butterfly Garden for Sun” in a well-lit corner of the front yard. As a consequence, Monarchs have rewarded us by visiting the flowers all summer. White Admirals, a butterfly we have not seen before, appeared in substantial numbers. Down by the boathouse, a few mayflies fluttered out of the lake in July.
Hummingbirds seemed a little late in coming, although they arrived in good numbers in late June. Hairy and downy woodpeckers have been busy since mid-August. Our local loons seemed to have a rough summer; we think they lost this year’s chicks.
We had visitors, of course, over the summer. Everyone who came pitched in helping with the cooking and, by importing young people, broadening our perspectives. This is what summer can still be about: noticing the butterflies, catching a fish or two, and absorbing the excitement of a young friend or relative heading off to his or her freshman year in college.