When loon calls echo around the bay at dusk, and a cool, northern Lake Huron breeze pushes the mosquitos away, I often find myself transformed, at peace. Tired muscles stop complaining about the day’s cottage chores and I move on — maybe to thoughts of kayaking the next day, fishing the next, exploring nearby marshes or visiting with friends.
Whether relaxing on the porch with a mug of coffee or something stronger, or quietly sitting at water’s edge as the sun goes down, for a minute, maybe more, it can seem as if I’ve become part of a magic still life where the noise of my thoughts ceases, and the evening sky prevails with its powerful pink, purple, blue and orange striations. The rising crescent moon is unmistakable, and seeing it reminds me of childhood fables as the night stars begin to shine.
Dusk at the cottage is a favorite time for many, a sublime transition from the heat and intense activity of the day to the quiet of evening. Some gather around the fire and celebrate with song, with hot dogs and marshmallows, while others sink into plush chairs, content to read good books. Still, others find their muse on a porch sipping cocktails or playing games. Across the bay, the noisy screel of rusty oarlocks is a giveaway that someone plans to fish.
There are no wrong choices, of course. That is the treasure of cottage life where once the music fades and campfires die down, only the sounds of the wind and loons remain. Come early morning, other birds will sing. And the enticing aroma of freshly made coffee will be incentive to grab a mug and head for the porch — first, just to sit, to watch the birds, check the state of the lake and then to plan the day.
Looking out through the trees, I may see the water is flat, the wind is calm. So many possibilities to consider. A familiar, raucous call sails down the shoreline. The sandhill cranes are returning to the bay.
It’s a good day for paddling, collecting stones, hiking, biking, even fishing. The chores got done yesterday. Maybe more, tomorrow. With luck, there will be cocktails with friends tonight at dusk, serenaded by calling loons.
For most of us, cottage season is still ahead, but it never hurts to dream. That is why we bring you the annual BLUE Cottages issue at this time of year. Like the lineup of cottage, lakefront and home improvement shows listed inside on the Excursions calendar, this issue is full of great ideas and notions for you to consider, whether you plan to build, remodel, move or simply visit.
Howard Meyerson is the Managing Editor of Michigan BLUE Magazine