"I wish that photographs were physical spaces, like tunnels, that you could crawl inside them and go back."
This afternoon we checked off the last thing on our bucket list. As we ran around the yard, screaming and soaking, launching water balloons at each other, I couldn't help but think how lucky we are. We spent an entire summer checking off things on our list that we dreamed up in June, when the whole summer loomed ahead of us. Summer always ends abruptly. I'm never ready when the end comes. Yet it still comes, causing us to slam our brakes hard and swerve onto the next thing. In this instance, the next thing is a new school year. Tonight we meet the teachers and explore the classrooms my boys will spend hundreds of hours in throughout the course of the year. The shift in schedules in jolting, and it always takes a few weeks to adjust, recover, thrive.
To celebrate the end of one season before the next one starts, we loaded up the van and drove five hours to Bemidji, MN, where a lake house awaited us. One last hurrah. Except the weather that greeted us was less than ideal. Rain, cold temperatures and plenty of wind. We spent a great deal of the three days holed up in the house, alternating between running around, causing quite the ruckus, and hunkering down under warm blankets to watch movies with bowls of popcorn and puppy chow. When we felt the need to leave the house, we explored Bemidji--under hooded sweatshirts and with soggy shoes. The one indoor activity that we found in the area--a science center--had a sign out front: Closed Due to an Emergency. We drove around in hopes of finding something else, but when we came up empty, we settled on a trip to a Goodwill store and a stop at McDonald's, where the kids burned some energy at the play place.
If it wasn't full-on raining, it was misting. The sort of mist that seems harmless as it gently coats your face, but gradually the moisture seeps into your clothes and hair and the dampness becomes uncomfortable. We eventually resigned ourselves to the fact that warm, sunny days were not in our forecast. Instead, we embraced the weather. In lieu of swimming suits, we wore layers down to the beach. The kids jumped into the chilly water, fully clothed, barely noticing their trembling lips and goosebumped flesh. Dave started fires, and we played on the beach as if it were a crisp fall day instead of the tail end of August.
Then on the final morning, we awoke to sun and clear skies. We ran down to the beach, determined to spend one sunny day at the lake. But despite the weather, it was a memorable trip. The house is one we'd definitely visit again. The proof is in the photographs.