Do not lament the end of summer. Don’t even start.
I get this last week to bask in the glow of the summer sun lakeside in beautiful Bobcaygeon and I refuse to accept that it is the end of the summer season as we know it until at least Monday of the Labour Day weekend. Refuse.
While you’re reading this, I could be doing any number of things in my mission to relax and unwind, like napping in my lawn chair with sunglasses on so nobody knows I’m napping, until a bug flies up my nose or, worse, I gag on my own snoring and leap forward in a fit of fright like a time traveler coming out of the vortex from the time of dinosaurs.
Or I’m reading the stack of books I got for my birthday that I’ve yet to dive into. I’m ready to step out of reality and into fiction.
Most likely, I’m sitting in an orange kayak, paddling awkwardly along the edge of the Big Bob Channel toward Lock 32, secured in a stiff yellow flotation device thinking I look all sporty and athletic, but in reality, I’m just hoping I can get far enough around the bend that my cottage mates can’t see me as I stop paddling to catch my breath and pray for strength, because I haven’t paddled since last August and that west wind will have come out of nowhere.
It goes without saying that there will be a clumsy, and surely meme-worthy performance as I attempt to exit this floating vessel when I return to the beach. It won’t be pretty.
My lower back may not be willing to turn with the rest of my torso.
I sure know how to make a splash, as they say.
Someone will have their camera at the ready. But I’m going to risk it anyway because there is nothing like floating out along the water, watching the water flora tickle the bottom of the boat as the fish weave around in the sunspots, laughing at the middle-aged writer who thinks she’s a paddler.
I cannot wait.
I will have walked the few kilometers to the Kawartha Dairy to watch my cottage mates eat ice cream, with a level of envy I cannot fully express, while I eat the same raspberry-lemon-lime sherbert every single time, because dairy is the enemy.
Or I’ll be listening to my daughter’s laugh, one of my favourite sounds, as she reunites with her “cottage cousins” around the campfire and they speed through a year of stories and adventures picking up exactly where they left off, because with true friends, you can do that.
I will wash the dishes and eat a lot of cold cuts and salads, because I dislike cooking at the cottage even more than I do at home. I’m okay with that.
As is the tradition, I can’t wait to taste the halibut and chips from the popular spot downtown. And it wouldn’t be a vacation without a trip to the chip truck.
It’s the best summer finale spent with people who have become like family to my own.
For 20 years now, always the same week, our trip to Bobcaygeon is a ceremonial end to summer that has been instrumental in setting the tone for the start of a new season, and a return to routine until we can gather again, in beautiful Bobcaygeon.