I miss Fall long ago on Fisher Lake. Windows wide open to get that last blast of fresh lake air. That crisp, tart essence off the lake mixed with the slightly mildewy, earthy musk of wet leaves; smells of life slowing down for a long winter nap. The artistry of the trees, painted with autumn colors, mirrored in the glasslike water of the cove on a quiet morning. The drone of the speed boats gone, in its place the soft, whistling zip of the fishermen’s lines as they cast into the cool water.
Bullfrogs, toads, and tree frogs burrow into their hibernacula. Sandhill Cranes pause for a rest on their way south to start a family. Life arcs from play to work to survival among every living thing.
One by one the docks pulled in, metal skeletons wrestled from the muck. Boats bellies scraped and cleaned from a summer submersed. Trailers backed up to the shore, to take the boats away for winter storage. When I was a child I pictured a giant indoor pool held our boats, because I didn’t want to think of them sitting out of the water and gathering dust. Much nicer to picture them bobbing happily in a pool of clean water.
The only boats left for the autumn months were canoes, kayaks and small fishing boats. Canoeing around the lake as a fiery sunset along the blazing tree line slowly extinguishes into night. Legs draped over each side and skimming the brisk surface, as we wish on stars under an October sky. Taking in the lake smells and sounds one last time before the freeze begins. The distant crack of a twig somewhere on the shore as a muskrat builds his winter push up. The smell of bonfires and slowly rotting pumpkins mingles with the cold-infused fresh air exclusive to autumn nights. The brief return of the distant jingle of peepers in chorus. One last mysterious song before their hearts stop temporarily in frozen sleep.
I skipped many nights of studying just to get that ‘last’ night on the lake. Once the first flints of ice appear on the surface, the canoes and other small boats are carried in, stored upside down tucked under tarps beneath the house.
Playing football on a small patch of grass near Little Fisher. Halloween festivities, (and pranks as we got older), sharing a bottle of Boone’s Farm Strawberry Hill around bonfires. Raking leaves (to earn money for bonfire wine) keep us busy while the water slowly freezes enough to skate on it. The story of a white winter on Fisher Lake to be continued… So many stories, each one ending in me missing Fisher Lake.