Tuesday, October 12, 2010

One More Gift, Wrapped in Aggravation

I've loved the Indian summers of October since I was a kid. Growing up in coastal southern California, it was often the best "summer" we had, since the marine layer would move in for much of the real summer months. I can remember going to the beach in July and not seeing the sun until mid-afternoon. The fog seemed to make a joke of summer in my growing up years.
No such thing as a marine layer up here in Shasta County. Some of our summer days get brutally hot, and many folks look forward to autumn. I know how they feel, but I always grieve a bit for the end of warm nights out on the deck, or out on the lake on a moonlit night, wearing shorts and t-shirts.
We've had a nice stretch of Indian summer here for the last few days, so a few nights ago, we took our forty-two year old patio boat out to Shasta Lake. We had a great time. The air was warm, but the water had cooled to just short of cold. Dylan and I both gasped when we jumped in, but we got used to it quickly.
I felt a little sad. The water told me that summer was over, even if the air didn't. The Indian summers have always been bittersweet for me.
We got back to the marina shortly before sundown. Rhonda walked up to back the Suburban down to the water, but soon came walking back. Dead battery.
There was nobody around to give us a jump, so I called Triple A. The phone person on the line said it would be about thirty minutes.
Two hours later, we still waited, but about the time I started betraying irritation, Rhonda said, "Yeah, but what a night to get stuck at the lake, don't you think?"

She was right. We watched a crescent moon set behind the mountains. Later, with little artificial light around, Rhonda pointed out various constellations, and we clearly saw the Milky Way overhead.
The tow truck driver showed up, finally. He apologized profusely, telling me that his company was supposed to have three drivers on duty, but he was the only one to show up that night.
I suppose he might have thought it strange had I thanked him for taking so long.

Dylan and Alice