When people ask how my summer is going, I say, “It’s a blur.” In September, when they ask how it was, I have said for years, “It was a blur,” so I am repeating myself shamelessly, but that single word captures the feeling so concisely that my answer admits of no improvement.
Summer does, however, slow down on my days off. Days off! What a concept!
For years I kept my bookstore open seven days a week from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Ah, but I was younger then, for one thing. For another, many of us discovered in the COVID-19 year of 2020 how much more human we felt when we weren’t pushing ourselves to be “productive” every single day.
We still work hard, those of us Up North with what are still largely seasonal businesses, and it isn’t always easy balancing the demands of business with maintaining our homes and gardens and social lives, but homes and their outdoor settings and time with visiting friends and family, as well as relaxing with life partners and pets – all these precious aspects of life have moved up on the priority list since the experiences of 2020. So if you miss me on Sunday or Monday, I’m sorry, but I’ll be back Tuesday morning, with the door open.
I do love my summer days at home! And after recharging with a day or two of mowing grass and hanging laundry out on the line and playing with my dog and helping the Artist with barn chores, I love going back to my bookstore!
9 92. Lively, Penelope. DANCING FISH AND AMMONITES: A MEMOIR (nonfiction)
9 93. Shoemaker, Sarah. MR. ROCHESTER (fiction)
Only two books added to my Books Read 2021 list this past week, and one was a re-read. That was Sarah Shoemaker’s brilliant novel, Mr. Rochester, which I had not re-read for a while and which captivated me all over again. So good!!! I can’t understand why there was not a bidding war among publishers to determine who would have the rights to this novel, and I am amazed that there is not yet a film version in production, although the book came out in 2017. Whether or not you have read Jane Eyre, if you have not read Mr. Rochester, make time this summer!
I lingered voluptuously over Mr. Rochester, stretching it out over several nights and mornings, but read quickly through Penelope Lively’s memoir, Dancing Fish and Ammonites, thinking as I read that this is a memoir more for writers than for the general public. Writers are all too often asked, “Where do you get your ideas?” and while most find the question maddening and unanswerable, Lively’s memoir does a good job of explaining it in the case of her own work.
What’s Happening in Northport Report
Almost all the usual events are back on in Northport this year, except for the Fly-In/Pancake Breakfast in August and Leelanau UnCaged in September, both cancelled but due to return in 2022.
There were fireworks for the 4th of July, with a reading of the Declaration of Independence that morning on the post office steps, and we will have, once again, dog parade in August! The 2021 theme is "2021: A Space Pawdyssey" (coincidental, what with the Virgin Galactic flight, eh?) and I’ll have more details coming up soon.
The library author series is back, also, and this Tuesday will be author Cari Noga. Her presentation will begin at 7:30 p.m. at the Northport Arts Association Building on 3rd Street (a roomier venue than the library), and I will be on hand to sell books following her talk – books she will happily sign for those making purchases.
Meanwhile, that same evening back at David Grath’s gallery on Waukazoo Street, an old friend of the Artist from Kalamazoo, James Burkett and another musician friend of his, will give a free concert, beginning (I think) at 7 p.m.
Yes, it is a conflict – for the Artist and me -- but that is summer, folks. Wednesdays the Jeff Hass Trio performs at the Union on Waukazoo Street, and Friday nights are Music in the Park, and there is not a single day or evening of any summer week without something going on. – Which reminds me that tonight, Monday the 12th, there is an opening at Pier Wright’s gallery on Mill Street from 6 to 9 p.m. We hope to be there. Maybe we’ll see you?
Peasy absolutely loves our Sundays together, all three of us working and playing outdoors all day, maybe going for a ride in the early evening, and seeing a dog’s happiness is a bond-strengthening joy for the dog’s human companions. Plus, Peasy let me clip three toenails on Sunday morning! Three!
Here’s another day-at-home dog note: When I pick raspberries, little Pea accompanies me and picks a few for himself, pulling one berry at a time off the canes with his lips, just as my dog before Sarah used to do. (Many, many years ago the Artist and I had another fruit-eating dog. In fact, Barkis would eat anything -- even lemons -- but raw smelt. There he drew the line.)
Sadly, Peasy is not such a cute, funny boy when I drop a clothespin on the ground. Clothespins are triggers for him, for some reason, and they bring out his inner Mr. Hyde. Confrontation! So I have now added to our regular lessons periods of Sit and Stay while I drop a clothespin and pick it up, over and over.
And so, as sand through the hourglass, are the days and the dogs of our lives….