I started working at 16 and worked every summer for 50 years. During all those working years I dreamed of having a summer of leisure. You know, be one of those people who rents a beach house for two months.
Then I retired and my summers were free to spend in any way I wanted. For that matter, so were my springs, autumns, and winters. And what did I do?
I recreated my workaday structured life while time trickled away. I thought I just wasn’t the lounging around type. The truth is I just never allowed myself to while away the time -- relaxing.
That is until the summer of 2021. I didn't plan for it, but, suddenly I was having the summer of my youthful dreams. I think the pandemic slow-down during 2020 had something to do with it.
The amount of time we spent recreating on or beside water was the biggest surprise. I’m a walk on the beach kind of person, not a swim in the water type. Yet, every destination in our summer involved some form of water recreation on or in lakes, rivers, bays, an ocean -- even a bog.
We swam, we kayaked, we boated, we walked at the water’s edge or in the surf, and we lounged by the water. And I even have a tan despite conscientious use of sunblock, sun shirts, and broad brimmed hats.
Some of our destinations have their own post. We were on Anvil Lake in northern Wisconsin for the greater part of the summer. It’s where I finally tried stand up paddle boarding for the first time. We drove part of the Great River Road along the Mississippi and saw some stunning scenery beyond the cornfields.
The 17.6 mile Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel from Virginia Beach to Cape Charles inspired a new love affair with the Chesapeake. We chose the smallest place possible to visit on this magnificent bay when we took a ferry ride from the Maryland mainland across the Bay to Smith Island.
The True Importance of Summer 2021
As special as the water was, as special as the leisure was, my fondest memories of summer 2021 come from sharing it with family and friends. They graciously opened their hearts and homes as we explored so many new-to-us destinations in the U.S.
We noticed how our loved ones created beautiful lives for themselves by embracing many outdoor recreational options in their region. We felt so fortunate to share their joy. And now I want to own some of those toys too! Well, maybe not a pontoon boat but a kayak for sure. So much for minimalism cause I'm going to need a trailer too. Come to think of it, a car as well.