The air is filled with skittery autumn leaves, wind-driven across the wooden dock which could use a coat of paint before snow sets in again.
Again, the snow.
Again, the paint yet to be painted onto the weather-roughened bare wood.
No one comes to the lake now. One reason to love it so—the quiet. Plus, this late autumn beauty, maples flaring and sending their colors into the wind—a million tiny bright flags.
Pippin is the other reason to love the lake. Pippin, whose name even sounds like a party.
Pippin lives across the water on the other side of the lake, the festival side. Any time of year that’s a crowded jostling place full of people who spend their free time and all their spare money chasing prettiness and noise and decorative accents. Fairy lights decorate the trees and docks over there all year.
Last month was the Foliage Fair, as if those workers at marinas and gift shops, restaurants and paddle boat rental stands had invented the season or could take some personal credit for it.
Next month begins their Wonderland of Winter season. Some years the weather doesn’t cooperate and they truck in snow or make their own like ski resorts do, all to provide a picture perfect setting for—well, for perfect pictures.
Late October to late November is the quietest time on the festival side of the lake—After the leaves fall. Before the snow falls, or arrives by truck.
It makes Pippin edgy and odd, all this quiet. But I adore it and it is one of the only seasons when I willingly row across to his side of the lake and settle in for a while. The rest of the year, he comes to me. And though he doesn’t say so, during those busy noisy times over yonder I think he savors the quiet on my side of the lake. Because of course he knows it doesn’t have to last. Knows he can paddle home to music and loud laughs any time he pleases.
And so he stays because he knows he doesn’t have to.
Aren’t we all odd ducks?