Yesterday, October 3rd, my friend and I went out on Crosslake, in his pontoon for one last ride around the lake. It was a beautiful fall day with temps in the 70’s, and a soft breeze that seem to whisper in your ear. Add to that, a quiet lake that we seemingly had all to ourselves. The fall colors picture-framed the homes as we skirted the shorelines and yards that had been hidden in foliage last summer but were now exposed, showing shuttered cabins and outbuildings. Leaves floated like little sampans on the still surface, while docks and boatlifts that once seemed to be so uniformly placed in the water, now littered the shoreline, shoved helter skelter, wherever there was a place to accommodate them. It looked like a scattered picture puzzle, with random pieces here and there; all waiting for springtime to come and bring some semblance of order back to the lakeshore again, but at least for today, all of it was a reminder of a summer that once was.
To me yes, it was the beginning of the end, of another summer solstice here in the lake country. But the serenity of it all that day overshadowed the loss of the season. A summer that here in the lake country we have lived and loved through so many times before. Oh, there have been other hints of change lately. Some subtle, some more profound. Last Sunday the boys of summer put their gloves, balls and bats away. Across the lake shotguns rang out and the hunt was on. The squirrels have never been busier. I cut down a hollow tree the other day and there must have been ten pounds of acorns stashed in side of some creature’s winter home. I hope they find other accommodations before it gets too cold. I left all of the acorns for them.
I couldn’t help but think as we trolled along how much life has changed for me and for this area. That whole trip that day was so much more enjoyable, because I was with my friend. A man I have known for over sixty-five years. That’s what we want out of life isn’t it? To be able to share our highs and lows with someone and especially a chance to share a wonderful fall day. I thought back to five years ago when I was so lonely and life looked bleak indeed and then I met another friend. A very special lady who took me from the dumps to the clouds. There’s been many new memories we’ve made together and hopefully more to come. She brought with her and into my life, a whole new entourage of people, family and friends. All of them special in one way or another and all of them making my life better.
But then I thought about the sad changes, not in my life but what has come to this wonderful corner of the world. When I came here in 1984 there were no Zebra mussels, no milfoil. No spiny water fleas or other invasive species that threaten to destroy this Eden. The words, “personal watercraft,” were not in my vocabulary and seventy-five horses was a big outboard. Mom and pop resorts were still flourishing and no one was tearing down ninety thousand dollar homes to build million dollar ones. But despite all the many changes the town was-- and still is Crosslake and it’s synomonous with a summer playground. You can go to the far corners of this country and people all know where Crosslake Minnesota is. I’m proud of that and proud to live here. Thanks Marv for a great afternoon and thanks Crosslake.