It’s a cottage. Or a cabin. Lakeside through the pines by a worn wooden dock, or the waterfront white-washed cape, ocean sparkling in the distance. One week. Seven days in summer. You gather. You cook and dine. You tan and play and close your eyes in the hot August sun. With friends and family, big eclectic mixes drawn by the need to shut it down – your brain, the job, the news, your worries – just for a few days at the back end of the solstice and before the rigors of Labor Day fill your head.
There are precious few rules (whoever cooks does not clean), and time-worn traditions (anyone up for a 7 a.m. beach walk?) – but mainly, the summer rental is a space where we go to do that which we don’t do enough of the other 51 weeks of the year. Scrabble. Puzzles. Clams. Kayaks. Plentiful wine. No bedtime for kids, no diets for adults.
It’s a time just to be and see where the lazy days take you and perhaps indulge in a little stargazing at night, with a blanket and a nightcap and the sound of the wind blowing in the trees.
Then there is, of course, that indiscernible pivot, where the week grows shorter than it is long and try as you may, your mind starts slipping back to everything you’ve been trying to forget. The fresh air-kissed goodness hasn’t quite been baked into memories yet and the playfulness and frivolity is tinged in sunset orange and midnight blue.
Cycle of life, passing of seasons. There will be another house, another beach, a new group of old friends and a brand new scrapbook. Next year. Today, you can only close your eyes and draw a deep breath. Hang onto that summer place. Channel bell chiming in the night wind, reminder of the places you still can go.