At the end of most summers, ever since I was a child, I find myself in a state of mild disappointment. Do you ever do this? Create these unrealistic expectations to squeeze summer of every last drop of fun and recreation possible, but then experience the inevitable disappointment when you fall short? You realize you spent too many days in an office or on the coach or doing laundry or…whatever. In the Pacific Northwet ®, we really only have a few months of weather that are suitable for swimming, camping, kayaking, etc. So every long winter I tell myself, This summer! This summer!
But as I approach fall this year, I’m not really feeling any regrets. If anything, I am feeling a good kind of exhaustion. This has been a full summer.
Heather and I attended three weddings in three weeks…my buddy Bryan, sister Jaimie and my cousin Emily. At my buddy Bryan’s wedding, my son Z and I were both honored and delighted to be in the wedding party as Groomsman and Ring Bearer (or “Ring Bear” as he pronounced it and I think imagined it.) My sister’s wedding was a real family affair with my brother Jesse and I co-officiating, my brother Matt performing all the special music, and my son Z making his second appearance as the Ring Bear!
All the wedding receptions were festive and included great food, beautiful decorations and (my) amateurish dancing. By the third wedding, I had finally mastered that “illusive” electric slide and was still working on the cha cha slide. But I still have no idea who shorty is, what gangnam style is, or how to do the wiggle? But despite my deficiencies, Heather and I still danced like it was 1999!
I also had the pleasure this summer to lead several youth trips… to the beach, the lake, and Columbia River Gorge. Our first trip was to Cannon Beach. The days leading up to the trip, we had warm, sunny weather, but the day of our trip, torrential downpour. The rain threatened to interfere with our trip, but our youths’ spirits would not be dampened. Despite rain, cold, and slippery trail conditions, we had loads of fun. The youth spent their time looking for sea life among the tide pools, splashing around in the cold waves, hiking a most slippery trail, and huddling around a campfire roasting hotdogs and marshmallows. There was something special about sharing an experience together where we turned challenging circumstances into an adventure.
Another highlight of the summer, was our family's first sailing/camping trip, which included an epic treasure hunt involving pirate maps, complex clues, riddles, canoeing, sailing, and eventually the pirate's treasure. The whole adventure started our first morning when B found a bottle with a scull and crossbones on the shore of our campsite. Some questions still remain. Who is Pirate Jake? Why did he set up this elaborate scavenger hunt? Did Dad and Grandpa have anything to do with it? If so, where could they have gotten that elk skull?
Between weddings, youth trips, sailing, camping, hiking, swimming, kayaking, sailing, visiting friends, Yearly Meeting, and Vacation Bible School, the Tricolas have barely had time to catch our collective breath. It has been a good summer, but we are ready for some shorter days, and some colder, wetter weather. We’re ready for a season with a little less pressure. A season of stews and scarves and sitting around sipping coffee. A season that gives us permission to slow down, settle in, cozy up, veg out. This fall… this fall…