Daily life at A-75 was predicated not by clocks or calendar but rather by the weather. Relaxation was the norm. Reading, engaging conversation, swimming, canoeing, paddleyaking, napping, and fishing were just some of the options. And David always had a ‘to do’ list of things, mainly something needing fixing, updating or moved around the island. Pick an item from the list that best befitted one’s skills and have at it. Efforts were always appreciated.
The rituals mentioned in part 1? Both were adhered to religiously.
Number 1: Before first light, grab a cup of coffee and wander out to sit on “the rock” facing east to watch the sunrise (unless it was raining - duh). Attendance was not taken but you’d be crazy not to show up. Sitting on the rock as sunrise broke while loons talked to one another, from one bay to the next, was hypnotic. No cars, trains, or sirens. Rarely was any boat motor heard. An occasional seaplane ferrying passengers flew past. Mostly hours of absolute silence. Bald Eagles soaring, an armada of Common Mergansers gliding past, an otter swimming, a hummingbird stopping to stare. That pretty much constituted rush hour at A-75.
Ritual Number 2: We had been forewarned that prior to the evening meal, during happy hour, everyone gathered to hear a favorite reading. Each day one person was responsible for a reading. It could be a poem, a chapter from a book, a magazine or newspaper article – whatever one wished to share. The reading typically promoted discussion about the author, the topic, or whatever struck one’s fancy. What an elegant transition to dinner. Over the course of the week we shared poetry, Shelley's short story chronicling one of her travel adventures (a mesmerizing two-parter!), magazine articles, chapters from the now defunct “Rainy Lake Chronicle” newspaper, and a description (complete with illustrations) about how dragonflies mate. An apt reading since we witnessed dragonflies in the throes of reproducing all week long.
As best as we could discern, a Rainy Lake “local” was defined as anyone who spent several months of each year living on the lake but who lived in other locales of the country (mainly the U.S.) during the winter months. According to the locals, the weather we experienced during our stay was exceptional – some of the nicest of the year. While evenings and early mornings were cool, the daytime highs were in the 70’s and for the most part sunny. There were a few storms that popped up but did little to dampen our enthusiasm. Another observation about the locals – they do not live in overly crowded conditions. Lots of space (i.e., water and islands) between cabins. Borrowing a cup of sugar could be an elaborate effort.
Almost part of every day included visiting various locations via pontoon boat. We went north past Goat Island to Little Canoe Creek and Little Canoe Creek Falls. We motored west past Boom and Cherry Islands and dropped into Horseshoe Bay. Off to the southeast past Rebecca , Pilsbury and Deer Islands included a cruise up the Big Canoe River to Big Canoe Falls. Closer to home - a visit to Haymarsh Island. We frequently took lunches and often stopped at various vantage points to hike a shoreline or simply moor and eat.
Traveling by water was not without peril. It was always wise to be on the lookout for submerged rocks and shoals. Most were marked on the charts while some were not. The latter were found by trial and error but once found not likely to be forgotten. Captain David maneuvered our crafts with skill and agility but it didn’t hurt to have several pairs of eyes helping keep a lookout when necessary. Both Dash and Sally dutifully tagged along always on the lookout for new doggie adventures.
In addition to being forewarned about the evening readings (so that we come prepared), Warren and Sharon cautioned us that on every trip to A-75, an unexpected problem would crop up. We were not to be disappointed.