November sunshine

An unfamiliar November sun rode in this weekend and we Midwesterners responded with great gulps of glee.

Everywhere we looked people rode bikes they had put away for the winter, hauled out the summer shorts, dined al fresco , walked, jogged, raked leaves, climbed playground equipment and tried to stay outside as long as possible.

I contemplated one last float down the river, dipped my foot in the water and briefly thought I had lost the poor thing forever, then settled on a more stately and less hypothermic canoe ride. Still, it felt like a privilege to float down that river, face warmed by a sun I thought I had said good-bye to for the winter.

I may have been wedged in like a giant sack of old laundry between my son and daughter in-law on that two-seater canoe, my paddle more of a prop than an actual steering mechanism, but I still felt at one with nature. The water looked as pristine as I’ve ever seen it, the sky clear blue and the only sounds we heard came from the rushing water, passing geese and me belting out, because I could not help myself, “Just a boy and a girl (and a mom) in a little canoe with the moon shining all around…”

It a good, good day when the gales of November refer to laughter, rather than wind.

Those days are coming, though, so I crammed as much into these unexpected summer days as I could — I walked miles and miles around rivers here in Appleton and Up North, I counted stars while enjoying a Saturday night campfire and ate outside for almost every meal.

I thought about painting my laundry room and hanging my Christmas lights and quickly dismissed those thoughts as I did not want to anger the weather gods by wasting their gift on pedestrian chores.

Unexpected summer days in late fall are made for wonder — cloud watching, star wishing, marshmallow toasting, nature seeking, fresh-air breathing, sun saluting, toe wriggling, neighbor chatting, squirrel watching, ball tossing, dog walking, bike riding, game playing joy.

Looks like we have another spectacular day ahead.

Let’s go it!

My husband Vince took this shot of my son Vinnie, me and my daughter in-law Danni paddling down the Oconto River. I bought that canoe for my parents back in 1982 when I worked as a cashier at Mills Fleet Farm. She still works like a charm.
Danni and Vinnie are perched expertly on the two available seats like the outdoor rock stars they are. I’m wedged into a floor seat like a pile of old blankets, pretending to paddle and cracking myself up.
This shadow selfie demonstrates what I’m feeling right now about the weather. We need to make the most of the little patch of sunshine as long as it hangs around.
I got caught down by the river at sunset because I still can’t get used to how early that happens. But, it gave me a chance to watch the color spread across this little inlet and the tree shadows grow.
On one of my night walks, I spotted this tree still full of color and I liked the way it looked under that streetlamp.
I’m feeling a little more optimistic about this old world these days. How about you?

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