Like Frederic (by Leo Lionni) we've been gathering as much of these last summer days as we can, storing them up for the cold ones certain to come. Its been a haze really, two weeks or more of visiting with friends away and snuggling up their new baby we just barely met, impromptu swimming excursions, and a long weekend camping.
I love the ease summer develops, once the planned trips have slipped away, and we're all just doing our best to soak up the best of these days, to sneak in one more afternoon in the water. I somehow collected a few extra children last week and ended up here at the pond down the lane. A raucous of happy kids splashing and diving through lilies, mucking about in boats, and collecting treasure. And me, with my book (though very little reading was accomplished as you can imagine) and camera in hand.
Labor Day weekend found us at Hermit Island, in Small Point Maine. My best friend's family camped here for one week each summer, and as she was an only child, I was lucky enough to get to be her adopted sister for the week. It became our island. After 7 years of camping there, growing from playing in the muddy channel and mucking it up at the ping pong tables near the Kelp Shed we felt it was ours. I hadn't been there since one last trip with Rob in college.
Two longtime friends graciously invited us along on their annual family vacation, for four days of long sandy beach days, grilling, soggy cooler food, island hikes, s'mores, and campfire songs. Four days is just long enough to really soak up the beach, explore the campground roads, and come to terms with the grime that is everywhere while camping. Four nights is just long enough for seven children (and all of their parents) to stay up too late, wake up too early, and eat too much sugar (and alcohol). Lest this trip sound too idyllic I'll mention the whining, the tantrums about ice cream, the sass, the sleepless last night with the loudest thunderstorm we've ever camped through, and the morning we packed up in the rain.
But really it was perfect. Every vacation should be just long enough that you're ready for it to end, but not so long that you aren't looking forward to it next time.
Hermit Island is a bit of a magical place, so that every child seems to feel that it is truly their own special world. I'd forgotten what a sweet place it is. It was a lovely way to spend our last official weekend of summer.