August 16 – 22, 2019Vol. 21, No. 11

The Last Splash of Summer

Pine trees on Oak Island in Great Pond catch the orange rays of the setting sun. Photo by Gregor Smith.

by Esther J. Perne

Go ahead: jump in the water, stop at a site that's open seasonally, order Grape Nut or coffee ice cream or something else mostly Maine-y, attend an end of summer outdoor movie or concert or crafts class and spend time — lots of time — outdoors.

When summer counts down, it's the signal to ramp up, catch up with what hasn't ended, what's ahead.

What hasn't ended is central Maine's awesome free outdoor concert schedule, the last curtain calls of summer theater, the berries still ripening on the bushes, the agricultural fairs featuring prizes and produce.

What hasn't ended is lake water still warm enough for wonderful outdoor swimming, ice cream stands and shops and seasonal eateries and parks with picnic tables outdoors and the Great Pond mail delivery.

What hasn't ended is the awesome call of the loon, the sun setting still slightly south, back-toschool shopping and sneaky stabs from mosquitos.

As daylight diminishes there's still time for summer rituals and traditions, time for the last paddle, the last swim, the last hike and the last fingers-crossed, wish-on-a-star attempt to catch that big fish.

As the calendar of summer events makes way for fall, excuses are useless. No money? Free concerts, art shows, yards sales, "just looking" in shops and stores, cruise-ins, strolls along rivers and walks in the woods and among historic buildings in the region's downtowns are priceless.

Too far? (Ah, come on.) Downtown Belgrade Lakes to downtown Augusta, Waterville and Farmington and vice versa clocks in at roughly 17 miles; Winthrop a bit less, Skowhegan a bit more — all routes lead past scenic surroundings, access to waterways and walking paths amd hiking trails with activities and ice cream stops to be enjoyed along the way.

No time? Really? Daylit evenings and light early mornings remain and starlight nights continue. A holiday is coming up and a weekend day — can't it be shaken loose from work and travel and sports schedules?

No interest; no energy; no one to be with? Oh? This is the mellow time of the season, the thoughtful time, the time to include children and grandchildren and older relatives, the time for the last look back and great plans ahead...

What's ahead?

Move ahead. Go to school. Join a class, a course, a campus, a degree program nearby.

Explore ahead. Do something beyond the Belgrades — a day at a coastal beach, the mountains, a Maine town or a rural area unfamiliar.

Dig in for times ahead. Do something fallish. Wear wool, sit by a fire, take a rainy day walk, admire the colors that will be creeping in. Imagine next summer and all the great outdoor recreation and...

Can't wait? Plan ahead, plan a fall or winter visit.

But first, take the plunge. Go for that last splash of summer.