The reason for our trip beginning three days ago was to drive to our family cabin in Northern Wisconsin. The adventure is in the moment. The day after we left Phoenix, the temperature rose to a new record for that date of 119 degrees. Obviously I was very happy to be out of the Valley of the Sun.
It always surprises me as I travel from the dry desert Southwest to our mid-continent U.S. how not only does the landscape change dramatically, but our weather changes too. From clear blue skies to hazy gray skies. From sandy tans and browns to so many hues of green I loose count.
Growing up in Minnesota I looked forward to summer and especially the week of the Fourth of July. So many things to do, parades, fireworks, picnics, family get together and of course all kinds of water activities. Swimming, water skiing, sailing, canoeing and fishing. These were the main activities we enjoyed all summer, but they had a special feel on the Fourth.
Having been away from the midwest now for 40 plus years, coming back to the places where I lived for thirty years was almost a sensory overload. Fond memories flooded my brain the closer we got to our lake cabin.
The lake and cabin was as I remembered it. The people and the activities have changed a bit, however, the feeling of pride in our country still prevails. The small town friendliness and feel is still here. And of course all of the activities that make the Fourth what it is are still enjoyed.
The boat parade on the Fourth still brings out all the lake people and of course the craft fair on main street still draws a crowd.
Fireworks viewed from a pontoon boat out on the lake is the best part of a lake Fourth of July celebration. Sunset is a bit later in the northern hemisphere so we push off on our boat about 8:30 as the sun is fading into the west.
The navigation lights are seen all over the lake as we all converge on town bay. This ritual has not changed in 40 years The boats are fancier, but the ritual is the same. As darkness approaches, we all crowd into town bay and greetings are heard across the water as old friends greet each other. Then, as if on some unseen signal, the first of the fireworks screams skyward. With a bang the sky is lit up with a thousand bright stars in multiple colors. Our evening is off to a roaring start as we all oh and ah after each explosion.
The most incredible light show is after the fireworks when all of the boats in town bay begin their trek back to their cabins. What a secondary treat.
Now all of the people around the lake are setting off their fireworks so we are treated to a second show. This show is usually fun to see as it is surrounding us as we make our way back to the cabin.
The rest of the evening our silence in the Northern woods is punctuated by the boom of firecrackers and fireworks.
Very late that evening as the noise tappers off, I hear the sound of a Common Loon calling to its mate. This mournful sound echoes across the lake as I drift off to sleep.