Summer is over. Again.

Sunrise over Sebec Lake

We’re back from our annual summer pilgrimage to Maine. Maybe I’m just getting older, but those two weeks seem to pass more and more quickly. Maybe that’s it: maybe it’s not me—maybe time’s speeding up! My oldest son made a similar comment.

We made good time on the way up (and pretty good time on the way back down): traffic cooperated (mostly!), and that’s something I always appreciate. I’m still not a fan of driving through D.C. or Manhattan, and I don’t think I ever will be, although we did get a good look at the Washington Monument—well, the boys did: I was driving!

We stopped by the River Fest for a while. I saw a few familiar faces (including my cousin, who lives in Greenville, SC), but we didn’t stay: Seventeen hours in the car (whether driving or riding) takes its toll, and I smelled like a New Jersey Turnpike rest room.

We made it out to “camp” a couple of times. The first, I drove out to see my cousin, who’d rented a boat. We motored up past “The Castle” toward “The Falls”…and then got destroyed by a sudden rainstorm. I think I would have been warmer if I’d just jumped in Sebec Lake and swam back. Other than the deluge, it was a beautiful summer day to be on the water.

The second, we spent a couple of nights: one in the bunkhouse, another in a hammock. Mom (Mimi to her grandchildren) goes all-out with activities for “Camp Day,” typically including tie-dyeing and painting. She added silly string and, unintentionally, temporary hair color this year. And paracord bracelets. I can’t read minds, but it always looks like the cousins really enjoy themselves on Camp Day.

(We spent an afternoon at my aunt’s house—on a different lake—earlier in the week. On my birthday, actually.)

I tricked my sister, my niece, and my oldest son into hiking Gulf Hagas with me. All right, “tricked” is a strong word, but I think that’s how they felt eleven knee-pounding miles later. Typically, one would park at the Pleasant River site, ford the river, then hike up to the Head of the Gulf. I didn’t know how high the river was, and I didn’t want potential high water to ruin the kids’ day, so we started at the Head of the Gulf and hiked down toward the Hermitage. I really wanted to see Screw Auger Falls: the first site on the way up…the last site on the way down. Yeah. But everyone made it with minimal complaining, and I got to spend a little time with my sister. (I learned later—that night—my aunt had hiked the Gulf the day before, and the water would’ve been about ankle-deep. Oof.)

Below are just a few photos from Maine, 2019:

Anyway, it’s been…well over a month since we got back to North Carolina. Summer is over, and I’ve written less than a thousand words in the last three or four weeks. Maybe a little more than a thousand, but an embarrassingly low number, regardless. I’m pretty sure I’ve said as much in the last few posts, but closing the deal with Chapter XVII is a hard sell. I’m still at it, mentally, if not, uh, typographically, but these “delays” are frustrating. I put “delays” in quotes because while I’ve slowed down since the first few chapters, and while I’d prefer to finish the thing, permitting myself a high-altitude perspective helps me ensure I’m maintaining character consistency and logical chronology. I’m choosing to believe Between the Lion and the Wolf as a whole will be better for added attention to detail.

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