A roving report on summer’s end

I have boat legs and the keyboard is sliding across the desk.
I’ve just stepped off the “Morning Dove” after four glorious days of sailing on good old Rainy Lake during the annual fall cruise with the Rendezvous Yacht Club. And I cannot imagine a better way to welcome the crisp autumn than to be in a sailboat in a hideaway cove in a visual theatre of red maples.
Don’t get me wrong; it was a cold and rainy “get there.” In fact, the big mama of daily forecasts must have been having a real belly laugh up there—repeating the same crummy scenario I’ve seen twice now in this fall cruise realm.
She did, however, pull some temperature and sunshine strings, too, giving us a chance to dry out and switch from wool sweaters to cotton short-sleeves.
But hey, I am a northern girl and I love this northern country ’round the clock and back again.
So there I was sailing away from shore, loving every minute of it, bobbing up and down like a duck, clad in the same pathetic mismatched little rain suit.
The same handsome, kind man remains at the helm in my life—a most excellent companion and navigation teacher, too, who strengthens my resolve to tackle a rolling sea.
He flashes that great smile at “Little Miss” despite her vintage “Russ Troll” doll hairdo whipped into a coif by the lake winds of September.
I stayed true to my autumnal pattern and went for a swim in the lake. I did not shout an ice-cold scream, but I wanted to. Instead, I was invigorated by my northern “Little Mermaid” spirit.
Once again, I did try the whiskey—Scotch whiskey this time. Oh, Lord, whose idea was that anyway? Despite my proud ancestral bloodlines to Scotland, Scotch whiskey tastes really, really bad.
I’m not even sure why I had three glasses of that nefarious beverage. Perhaps I was trying to impress the 14th-century spirit of William Wallace, the great warrior of Scottish independence.
All I know is that I spoke to “Ralph” the next morning and he said I was a fool.
Insert jolly roving laughter here.
And, oh yes, Robert Service was in the house. The recital of “The Shooting of Dan McGrew” filled us up and laid open the importance of the old traditions of reading really good poetry from books out loud among adults.
The stage was set in the old Malamute saloon and we took our starring roles as the lady known as “Lou,” a crazed miner, and “Dangerous Dan” very seriously (with lots of laughter).
We even had a special effects department who controlled the boat cabin lighting in the dark moment of gunfire between the two storybook rivals. Fun, fun, fun.
Too soon, too soon, with the end of the fall cruise, we closed the book on a summer’s worth of sailing. But we squeezed that orange really well.
Once again, thank you, sailors, for enriching my experience. Thank you for this day and that, and the want to do it all again next year.
Henry Rollins penned, “We know that in September, we will wander through the warm winds of summer’s wreckage. We will welcome summer’s ghost.”
Indeed I do.

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