Saying Good-bye to Summer

September 8, 2001

A week ago Saturday we set out for the beaches of Lake Michigan for one last farewell to the summer of 2001.

The summer has been full of adventure and moments and memories. We have rafted rivers, sailed the inland sea (Lake Michigan), watched sunsets, ridden the Harley, hiked through the alps and dragged luggage through the subways of London.

But back at home, it's amazing just how much you can pack into three days of sun and wind and big water. Labor Day weekend graced us with perfect weather, and a friend who let me use his boat with rainbow sails for the last rides of the year on the big water.

Meals were included in our room package but when it came time to chose between dinner and sailing, sailing won.

Dinner was served from 5 till 6:30, but as I dropped Mrs. NSR on the beach at 5:30 I said, "You go eat with the kids. You can always eat, but you can't always sail. When we go to watch the sunset I can grab something in town."

I sailed out into an irresistible combination of a strong southwest wind and diamonds on the water. It was no gentle sail into the melody of life this one, but the kind of ride that provoked a giant grin and a yell of "ROCK AND ROLL."

I do that when the boat tips up on its side and I dance with the wind.

I sailed the hobi onto the beach and by the time I had finished tucking the sails away the wind began to die.

Satisfied, I walked off the empty beach.

From the beach road I looked out over the water and thought that the high thin clouds on the horizon suggested a glorious sunset.

It was.

Last year when we all walked out to the end of the lighthouse pier my daughter, now majoring in Photography at college, took a nice silhouette of the lighthouse.

Although her shot did not turn out as desired, it gave me the idea for a series that I took along our walk.

I learned a lot this summer about manipulating the light, film and no flash settings on my digital camera in order to capture images in low light

Ok, so the NO PHOTOGRAPHY signs in the Queen's digs were sort of a challenge, but that is after all, another story.

But then, look at the results.

Technique honed on the crown jewels translates into a shot of the jewel of the night as it rises over the calm of the big lake.

Granted there is a whole lot less thrill shooting from a pier than in front of a guard only 6 feet away from the crown, but I still am quite happy with results.

I suppose I am learning that life is not always about thrills. Well, maybe we should talk about that next week after the kids and I return from another whitewater rafting trip.

"Is it always about adventure and challenges and crashing into waves and dancing on the wind with you?"

"No, not always."

"Sometimes I sit on the shore of the lake and feed the gulls."

Sunday afternoon I plopped on the shore and took my camera in my right hand, and threw pieces of bread up into the air with my left.

Point and shoot right?

Isn't that how the experts do it?

Ok so the diet was a tad high in sugar and carbs, but I sure did get their attention with the combination of life cereal, some stale toast, and left-over cinnamon buns.

Throw and shoot, throw and shoot.

You know what though?

Sometimes in life you get lucky.

I did.

I pointed, I shot, and I took the camera back to our room and downloaded the pictures.

There were 44 pictures in all, some blurry, some good, and one...

With one I got lucky.

Really lucky.

Lottery lucky.

I doubt that I could ever do this again.