FOR MEMORY HAS PAINTED THIS PERFECT DAY WITH COLORS THAT NEVER FADE. AND WE FIND AT THE END OF A PERFECT DAY THE SOUL OF A FRIEND WE'VE MADE -----Carrie Jacobs Bond
Yesterday was the perfect summer day. The weather had that late August touch of cool, that lingers in the morning and gives way to the heat in the afternoon. The kind of weather that is still summer, but lets you know that fall is just around the corner. The kind of weather that still allows for comfortable swimming, but at the same time makes you think of shopping for back-to-school pencils and new shoes, of hiking and biking and soccer try-outs, of cozy sweaters of be worn at football games.
I went kayaking yesterday with my friend, Charlie, and a bunch of his buddies. We all met on the side of the Assabet River in Hudson ("Just remember --'you bet your ass' River") in a small parking area on the side of the road. There were seven of us in all, paddling down the river, eating lunch in a shady spot under some trees, and sharing stories of the things that ignite our passions.
I can't imagine a better way to spend a summer day. There is something that is magical about being near water -- on the water, in the water, next to the water. Maybe its a primordial instinct that make us feel so comfortable floating. Or maybe its just that the water is so refreshing when its warm out. I'm sure there are some who would argue that another type of environment can be just as soothing (Georgia OKeefe and Edward Abbey come to mind) but for me, the most peaceful place to be is on the water.
Yesterday to me is a collage of delicious sensations mingling together. The coolness of the water, the warmth of the sun, the gentle hint of a breeze that broke through the trees every so often, just enough to keep it from becoming hot. The sight of the impossibly blue sky with white, puffy clouds, a blue heron that followed us along the river, soaring and calling out. We didn't know what he was saying. The water smelled so clean and fresh, the way it smells on a spring morning after the rain. Even the mud was great, squishing through my toes and making wet sucking sounds when I pulled my feet back out.
At one point yesterday, I was floating along next to Charlie and he said "I could just bottle all of this up and save it to uncork one day in January".
"Charlie," I said, "If you could figure out how to do that, you would be a very rich man."
He looked around and gestured with his arm in a great, sweeping motion. "I already am a rich man."
I know what he means.