Summer has been good to us

It was the Labour Day weekend. The moon, almost still full, lit the lake Sunday evening.
A fire burned across the lake at Gasparinis’ cabin. A small light shone from the Tibbs’ cabin. A bright light lit the cabin across the water on Nowhere Island.
Phil Bangert had arrived at the island shortly after lunch. He spent Sunday evening with us on Turtle Island, then headed north to Sioux Narrows before daybreak to fish in the annual “Bassin’ for Bucks” there this weekend.
There was just enough light across the lake to make your way when he left.
On Sunday evening, my sister, her husband, Rod, Marnie and I, and Phil shared a meal with the Griefs at Larry’s cabin. Phlip and Carol would be headed home to Tucson later this week and they’ve had a great four months on Rainy Lake.
But a week can bring about major changes in colour on the lake. The birch leaves have gone from a solid green to a bright orange and chocolate brown. The poplars are following in turning yellow and brown.
The red and white pines are shedding needles, and those that will be dropped already have turned to brown. Even my Manitoba maples at home are dropping their brown leaves and filling my rain gutters.
It seems much too early to see the trees change colours and begin dropping their leaves.
Upon our arrival at the cabin Sunday morning, a raft of mergansers was floating across the bay and pulled up on the point of the island. There must have been more than 50 of the birds.
That, too, seems early for the birds.
The squirrels have been busy. You can hear their handiwork as they drop cones onto our metal roofs. One can see their handiwork as the wings of the cones are left in piles on the deck and steps, and only the stem remains in place.
The red squirrels still run out to the end of every stem to make sure that every cone has been dropped. And occasionally, one squirrel will catch another stealing its stash of winter food.
A fight would erupt—ending with each squirrel climbing a different pine and with an ensuing shouting match.
This year has not seen the same number of cones as in previous ones. The red squirrels begin chattering at the first break of dawn and continue to make themselves heard through to the setting of the sun in the evening.
We finished our remodelling of the sleeping cabin last weekend and hauled all the tools back to town. We are really proud of our achievements, and I can hear discussions going on already about the next projects we might undertake to make living at the cabin easier.
But that is in the future.
The summer has been great. Already our season at the lake has been longer than ever, and we look to continue to be at the cabin for another six weeks.
It may even cool down enough that the wood stove might be lit to begin using up some of the many cords of firewood that we cut and split in April.
We were still swimming Monday afternoon. Summer has been good to us on Rainy Lake.

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