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Summer Magic

July 27, 2012
…”Sometimes I wonder, what I’m-a gonna do. But there ain’t no cure for the summertime blues”….It has been a brutally hot summer. But now that the most recent heat wave has receded and memories of the devastating “derecho” storm are beginning to fade, the “magic” of summer returns. And I remember summer vacations in August when I escaped the heat of the city and went to the Mountains….
…”Summer, it turns me upside down. Summer, like a merry go-round…Oh its magic, when I”m with you”…..My family would go to the Adirondack Mountains every summer to a magical place called “Elk Lake” , where if you took a canoe out on the lake you were convinced you were the only person(s) alive in the world. All the nearby shores were “forever wild” Adirondack park where it was literally several miles until you would find another human being. The quiet sound of the lake at dusk was almost deafening.

…”Hot town, summer in the city, back of my neck, getting dirty and gritty, been down, isn’t it a pity, doesn’t seem to be a shadow in the city”…. A cool wind bit the air as we headed out for an evening canoe across the lake. At my father’s behest, we remained quiet most of the trip so we might see wildlife. A favorable breeze blew in our faces which made it difficult for many of the animals to smell or hear us. And just then we spotted a large black bear along the shore line on the other side of the inlet, staring inquisitively at our silent gliding canoes. Eventually, he decided he had seen enough, swam across the inlet, ambled on shore, shook himself off and disappeared into the woods…

…”Now he walks in quiet solitude the forest and the streams. Seeking grace in every step he takes. His sight has turned inside himself to try and understand, the serenity of a clear blue mountain lake” ….
At age 15, I hiked up Mt. Marcy ( the tallest peak in the Adirondacks) with my friend Neil for the first time. We stayed at Adirondack Lodge the night before in the bunk room and listened to every imaginable type of snoring through the night until we were “awakened” at 5:30 am to start our 20 mile hike. I remember the excitement of being the first ones on top at 9am in the morning and on the way, torturing all those dozens of tents camped at Marcy Dam (2 miles from the lodge) with our pre-sunrise versions of “Oh What a Beautiful Morning”…
…”Trees swayin’ in the summer breeze. Showin’ off their silver leaves
As we walked by….” I agreed to buy a 1/7 share of Lone Pine Camp in the Adirondacks at age 29, which included a rustic cabin for each shareholder. There was hesitation on my part as it amounted to the then-intimidating sum of $10,000 in order to join several of my friends in a group living experience on 20 acres of  lake front property. Fortunately, my wife Anne told me (despite our then living some 10 hours away by car and being unmarried at the time) that if I didn’t do this “I would regret it for the rest of my life”… 

…”And time seems to stand quite still, in a child’s world it always will”….. Both Maryanne and Kathleen even as infants (and then later as pre-teens) spent endless hours playing on the pine-needled, dusty camp grounds in bare feet. By evening when they finally came back to our sleeping cabin, they had naturally blackened feet which had to be scrubbed in our bathtub. Later, there were the Lone Pine Players which featured all of the camp kids as actors, writers and directors in an annual August play…

“Sweet sleepy warmth of summer nights. Gazing at the distant lights
In the starry sky”….
Have a great August!

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  1. Rob Carey permalink

    “Hot town, summer in the city”- the person who wrote those words, along with his more famous brother, was present at our high school reunion this summer.

    • Mark Sebastian was in Bonnie’s class at Friends, though I can’t say I remember him. Never met John S. either though did see him in a central park concert in 1978. You are making me really regret missing the Saturday festivities!

  2. Dan Chartier permalink

    Bruce, thanks for the posting. It stirs memories from my summers. For me, it was (is) Ashegon Lake near Couderay, WI. My parents built a summer home there that I spent every summer at from about age 10 onward. They eventually retired there and while I don’t get back as often as I’d like, I own 150 feet of frontage on the same lake. Ashegon Lake is small, just about 80 acres, but it’s a cold, deep, spring fed lake and is now classified as a wilderness lake by the State of Wisconsin. I may never build on the property I own, but I kept someone else from buying it since it’s directly adjacent to my folks. I treasure the peace and quiet I experience every time I get back to visit.

    • Dan – this sounds a lot like the Adirondacks. I expect you will be able to get up there more and more over time. That is certainly what we plan to do with Lone Pine.

  3. Neil Van Dyke permalink

    Can’t say I’m surprised you don’t mention our hike up Allen as an August highlight!

    • Well Allen certainly does not invoke good memories and nice summer songs. Maybe I should do a post on bad memories and use the song DOA for that one.

  4. Weirdly enough, I’ve been smelling something that I haven’t been able to identify in Massachusetts all week, and for some reason it reminds me of Schroon Lake.

  5. Dale Heydlauff permalink

    A wonderful tribute to family vacations and the natural beauty of upstate New York. Thanks for sharing the memories and lyrical interludes, Bruce. Enjoy your annual sojourn to the north country for rest, relaxation and spiritual rebirth.

  6. Sally Braine Frost permalink

    If memories could be classified as “sweet”, Elk Lake goes to the top of the list for me! Mom

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