"I like good strong words that mean something."- Louisa May Alcott
September Blues
Posted on September 14, 2021 @ 8:47 am by

It is so quiet along the road here that you can hear a pin drop—or an acorn or two, to be precise. While the city is filling up with activity once again, cottage country has slipped into a great silence.

Quiet is one of my favourite qualities (and rare), but the week following Labour Day, I’m desperate for even a honking horn or bad lounge music. Most of all, I miss the sounds of children with their squeals and chatter, which carry over the lake as they jump, dunk, and do who-knows-what to keep their parents looking up from their Muskoka chairs. Before my second cup of coffee, I can hear them pulled behind boats, where they’ve been folded into inflatable rings; or paddling (noisily) in mini kayaks or on top of surfboards. And four times a day, like clockwork, a gaggle pass by on the way to the local sailing club, walking, biking, scootering, or once at least, spotted on a pogo stick.

Attached to the children come the grownups, unaware of how loudly they are talking on cell phones (if they knew, they might tone it down). They’re followed by other assorted relatives and friends who stop to point at our front lawn or waterfront (and we never know why). Then, of course, the dogs—dogs barking at squirrels, dogs barking at other dogs, dogs barking for no reason, and owners yelling back at their dogs with futile demands to stop banking like, “Copper no”, “Buddy wait”, “Chance, be quiet”.

Later on, there’s the after dark sounds: impromptu dock parties with dancing or “singing” from a direction that’s impossible to tell over the still water; slightly inebriated groups making their way home along the road, talking a bit too loudly to convince anyone they haven’t been enjoying themselves. There are fireworks, not confined to the long weekends, and motor boats making everyone a bit nervous as the navigate through the dark late into the evening.

But this morning, there’s not even the sound of a fishing boat sneaking through the water to catch fish unaware. No equipment sounds from someone trying to carve out a front lawn where there should be weeds and trees; no DYI resident forever caught in a cycle of fixing and repairing, not even float planes circling overhead like some giant mosquito. I don’t even hear the loons this morning (I’m wondering if the word isn’t out yet that the coast is clear).

Inside the cottage, there are signs as well that summer has slipped out the door. My cupboards aren’t brimming with treats, like chips and fancy “patio” appetizers. They’ve sadly have been replaced with practical cans of soup and beans. I’m even down to my last bottle of summer rose from the case I bought last spring.

Labour Day announces the end of summer like a blast from a megaphone. The weeks following are bittersweet; like any change of season, there’ll be new sights and sounds in the air before long—and we’ll enjoy them as well. Already you can feel it. The patio lights on the front decks and docks are being replaced by warm lighting from inside the darkened buildings where residents now keep warm and dry. The air is filled with woodsmoke, and a touch of overnight frost reminds me that I don’t really want to swim in the lake now anyway.

As a get ready to pack up to leave, I remind myself that I’ll be back again next season to savour these precious weeks. And when I return, I have the assurance that there will be the same broken porch step to trip me up in the morning, the same annoying burner on the stove that only has one setting—very high, and the same man on the tractor who rides by every morning, standing up one way and sitting down on the way back.

I just may save that last bottle of rose to remind me of it all next February. Until then, hello urban life, warm baths, and central heat.

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