August 18, 2013

Maine Observer: Savoring every drop of Maine summer

An early morning kayak paddle on the lake is a time to drink in the sights and sounds of a lazy summer day.


Summer in Maine is too short and sweet to worry about the weather. We've had our share of rainy days as well as long stretches of heat and humidity.

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I'm not complaining. It's just real nice not to have to wear layers of clothes like I do during our other three seasons. Cooking outside or tossing together a salad makes meals real quick and easy, and we can enjoy much more daylight. What's not to love about summer?

Each year in July, my husband, kids and I head to our camp on Sebago Lake to spend some time together as a family.

The kids are older and busier now, but they still get so excited about going to camp. They have summer jobs and very active social lives -- not to mention the ubiquitous electronic devices that sustain their attention -- but there seems to be something magical, a step back in time, as soon as we arrive for our vacation.

This year, the first day of our stay was drizzly, cool and humid, but the kayaks were beckoning us. It was early morning, before any of the neighbors were awake.

We quietly slipped into our seats and paddled out to the middle of the lake. The water was still, our paddles making ripples on each side of the kayaks.

It was too early for the power boats to be out pulling skiers or tubers, so we had the place to ourselves. Well, except for a mother duck and her brood of fuzzy ducklings. We stayed far enough away to observe them patiently waiting on a big rock while the mother was perhaps finding something for breakfast. Their quacking and waddling made us smile.

We continued on our boat ride and decided to hug the shore, looking at all the new places that have been built or remodeled since last summer. It's different seeing the fronts of the camps whereas we only see the opposite side driving by in our cars on the road.

On our way, we were surprised to hear the call of a loon. Where did it come from? It seems to have just appeared beside us. I felt fortunate to be able to get a close-up view of this charismatic creature with its beady red eyes and long black beak.

We usually enjoy hearing the loons most mornings, but it was extraordinary to be paddling next to one. Soon it skillfully dove under the water. We watched for a long time before we saw it resurface.

We were in no hurry to get back to shore, knowing that these peaceful, relaxing moments will soon morph into the busy, loud shrills of swimmers, boaters and children playing on the beach. The cool air will become hot and sticky, and we'll need our sunscreen and bug spray.

Our thoughts turn to how we will plan to spend this lazy day ahead, and we're ready to drink our coffee and the read the newspaper on the deck.

Paula Boyce of Standish teaches writing at Lake Region Middle School and graduate literacy courses at the University of Southern Maine.


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