August 2 – 8, 2019Vol. 21, No. 9

The Lights Are On

by Rod Johnson

As Maine's summer season skips along, a certain mindset and aura engulf us all. I think we could all make our own list of what summer means to us and many would look very similar. Some of our list would include: sails on the horizon, family picnics, company from near and far, the laughter of children — and lights around the lake.

As much as 25 years ago we came to realize that the number of cottage lights around the shoreline was the perfect visual representative of the seasons' coming and going. There seemed to be four lights along the West shore of Great Pond that burned all year regardless of season. We suspected that at least some of those few were automated night lights and the owners were now in Florida or Arizona!

The number of lights would slowly grow through May and June then come to a climax sometime in July. After a short period of what we might consider "prime summer," maybe four to six weeks, we would note a lessening of lumens peeking back at us. After early September's Labor Day weekend, an abrupt decline was very evident. Soon in early October, while the days grew shorter and the leaves were busy turning themselves into a fall color harvest, we counted less than a dozen. On or about November 1, a light count produced the familiar number of four. We knew that in six months a full cycle had occurred — and it was time for us to turn out our own light.

Let's not rush it, but as we all enjoy this wonderful warm time here in Maine, we know that soon a slow transition will be coming along. The nights will become a tad cooler — great snoozing weather! — and the water temp for swimming will drop a few degrees. In mid to latter August it seems there is always a "first red leaf" spotted, a visual reminder that fall is creeping in. For now, the lights are on, enjoy your summertime to the fullest and don't turn out your light until absolutely mandatory!

Rod Johnson was born and raised in the Belgrade Lakes in the 1950s and '60s.