Wednesday, August 24, 2022

The Last Kiss of Summer

And so it arrived. The last full day of beach paradise and summer leisure began in a rocky canoe that I was sure might tip over. (It didn’t.) Yesterday, the lake was a rare afternoon calm but today it was a morning rough. We— my wife Karen and a friend Pam— made it to the outlet intact, hung out a bit at that special spot and they canoed back while I fulfilled my morning swim quota. But unlike the pitch-perfect waters of the day before, it was neither wholly relaxing nor satisfying to battle the small waves. A short beach read finishing my book The Piano Tuner, an intriguing story set in late 1800’s Burma with a wholly unsatisfying ending and then up for some leftover quinoa salad late lunch. 


Last year’s beach read was Beach Read and last time I was in town, the cozy Frankfort bookstore said the author’s new one would come in any day. So off I drove to town, treated myself to walking down Frankfort’s most Americana street with large trees, large houses architecturally distinct and delightful, with enticing front porches and lovely front and back lawns. The mythos of my Leave It to Beaver ideal town (though this much, much, more attractive) surfaced and though of course, I wished for all sorts of complexioned people to be living there, it was at least heartening to see many Black Lives Matter signs.


Got my new book, Emily Henry’s Book Lovers, and returned feeling somewhat headachy and even slightly feverish. Too much sun? Bad sleep? Not the dreaded C, please! So indulged in some self-healing playing Bach’s Inventions on the worst electric piano that never has yet been replaced (I looked into it last year, but it didn’t work out) and that helped a bit. But still not the perfect-health feeling I’ve enjoyed these last 12 days.


And so I did something that I hadn’t done all vacation. I took a nap. After reading the first two chapters of the new book. (Looks promising!) Now the sun is beginning it’s 7:00 pm descent, Pam has left and Karen is ready to talk to me about her impression of my new book (first-draft) chronicling our trip around the world in 1978-79. Besides the always valuable perspective of another reader, she was the one that lived that extraordinary year with me and it will be interesting to see if she thinks I’ve captured a bit of it. 


An overcast sky and no spectacular sunset, but so it goes. Tomorrow still a morning’s worth of swimming or biking or walking the beach and then back on the plane heading homeward bound. And though I opened with “the last full day of summer leisure,” that’s not wholly true. Technically, there’s one more month of summer until the Autumnal Equinox and metaphorically, the retired life means I can choose leisure. So in both senses, more to come.


But I will miss the beach and the lake. Farewell, my long-time friends!



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