How I love the summer. The distinct scenery that is uniquely this place, the bright blues and deep greens, the white topped waves falling into our white, wooden piers. The sailors hike their sails, the fishermen fish the warm waters for those summer fish, and when the day has had its say and the sun has set, there is little to do but sit in the porch and listen to the midsummer night. What a soundtrack that is, at once alive and loud yet somehow quiet and still, both easily and effortlessly lulling us to that tired summer sleep.
That summer that everyone so loves always fades, whether if, for a few weeks in August, it seems as though it might never leave. In this place, it always does leave. It leaves with sadness, with children wishing for one more swim and men wishing for one more sunset cruise after one more Saturday dinner. It leaves with everyone wishing for it to stay, and anyone who doesn’t feel a tinge of sorrow for a summer recently passed isn’t someone I’ve ever met. The summer slips away and fall replaces it, with merely a September tug that shows some days to be summer and others to be fall. But every time, each year, without fail, fall wins.
The deep green shoreline is now ablaze with reds and oranges and yellows. The dull brown of the changing Oaks lending some baseline to this new, varied scheme. The water is still blue, still constant, and it’s both bright and deep just like it is in mid-July, just like it is in early January. The piers are still there, sturdy and white, but chipped now, faded, slowly succumbing to the pier company’s hoist, each day more of them on lawns and fewer in the water. The boats are leaving, too, and by now, most are gone. Only the steadfast remain, those who know that fall means fewer boats, fewer rentals. The pontoons of summer have all been stashed in those darkened, shameful places where pontoons are stored, and the lake is left now to the owners and their Cobalts, their Lymans, their Chris Crafts and their Streblows. The lake is now as we always wish it would be. Calm and pure.
The nights now are calmer, but they are not yet quiet. The frogs and the crickets and remnant hoppers still make those night sounds, but the rustling of the fallen and falling leaves renders the chorus more faint now, subdued by the coming winter, when the night sounds come only from the rumble or a passing plow or the whine of a snowmobile as it whips through a dark neighboring field.
This is our fall, and this is the season that I now wish to live in, forever. Summer used to suit me better, with the boats and the splashing and so much sun, but now these warm days of fall are more to my liking. The cool evenings and cold nights, the brisk mornings and warm days. The sun and the clouds, the quiet lake and that splattered deciduous shoreline. These are the things I wish for now, the things that are happening around me, the days like this and the nights, too. The colors, yes, but the fade as well. The dull browns and the harvested fields. The quiet of the afternoons the the still of the evenings. The summer rush replaced by the peace of fall.
Some would say that I could find this place, the place where it’s always fall, because it’s in the mountains here or the mountains there. It’s coastal near a great ocean that keeps the temperatures steady. But that supposes that it’s the temperature and the sky that I’m after, that it’s just the feeling of any fall that I want, but that’s not it at all. I don’t want just any fall, I want a Lake Geneva fall. I want the fall that I’m familiar with, the fall that will last only until it doesn’t. This is the place I want to be because this fall isn’t like your fall. It’s better.