Summer Reflections

Kids are heading back to school, moving trucks are out in force, and I have just returned from our first successful attempt at a vacation this summer of 2017. Old friends took pity on us in our stuffy apartment during these final sweltering July days by inviting us up to their family’s cabin on the Menominee Indian Reservation near Keshena, Wisconsin.

This was only my third time in the Badger State, and we couldn’t have chosen a more beautiful weekend to indulge in a few days of swimming, boating, lounging around a campfire and gazing up at the stars. Located on the shores of a string of lakes that have been connected together, I was enchanted by the serenity of this land and its people during boat rides to remote parts of the reservation.

A large portion of undeveloped property has been returned to the Menominee tribe, and they gather on the shoreline for reunions and birthdays, to fish and swim, play games, eat and socialize. As we slowly passed numerous campsites and RV gatherings, I marveled at how peaceful and happy they seemed without the fancy cottages and noisy watercraft on the commercial areas of the lakes, sandy banks and perhaps a simple inner tube all that was needed for hours of swimming fun. We were warmly greeted for our quiet passage, careful not to create a wake strong enough to erode edges where the beautiful beech and pine trees perched.

During our visit, we saw and heard loons, gulls, sandhill cranes and even a majestic bald eagle. At night on the dock, as the Milky Way appeared overhead to remind us of other worlds, I found myself thinking back to those gatherings along the shoreline with longing and an urge to join in community with one of the few tribes that still lives on its original lands. That kind of belonging is as alien to me as those distant lights in a faraway galaxy, and as elusive as the shooting star I saw falling from an endless sky.

7 thoughts on “Summer Reflections

  1. What a beautiful and poignant reflection. As you probably understand, this resonates in me. I’ll be coming back to read it again. Thank you — and congratulations on a real vacation! And on a gorgeous photo!

  2. Catherine

    Another brilliant piece. I especially like the way you are able to weave many issues into the story, from “downsizing” (eg you mentioned your cramped apt), and friends thru the years (they took “pity’) to open space and the suggestion that even nature can be marred by speeding boats and “fancy cottages.”

    1. Thank you so much, Catherine. I’ve always admired your work, so I’m thrilled that you’ve stopped by. I try to cram as much as I can (maybe too much) into very short space for fear of boring my readers to death. Your words give me hope that I’m on the right track.

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