In Alaska there is a plant called the fireweed that blooms throughout the summer. Reportedly, you can tell how much of summer is left by observing how close to the top of its stalk the purple blooms have opened.

For years, this houseboat has been a barometer of warmer weather for the island. It gets moored in the river around Memorial Day and you can see it from the road just before you cross the bridge. the owner stretches the season as much as possible, sometimes waiting until October to put it up for the winter.  Last year a small shed was added on the side, it was painted the same as the house and had the amusing effect of an attached garage. They entertain a lot. There are boats frequently tied up there, with passengers enjoying a visit, the view, and more than likely, a beer or two.

In a few weeks, I’m going to have to focus on the start of school – for my kids. Once again, September will roll around without me either taking or teaching a class, though because I have just started this new job, I won’t have a lot of time to be sad about it. I’m not ready to give up the warm weather. I’ve been outside as much as time and the humidity will allow and I’ve spent a lot of time in the garden, which is doing really well this year, but I haven’t been to the beach at all. For most of my life I have looked forward to autumn as a time of more comfortable weather and new beginnings. These last few years however, I have found the cold weather much harder and the winters, snow or not, to be bleak and depressing.

So I’m trying to keep the houseboat in the water as long as possible, while also doing this bizarre mental game playing about doing as much as I can before school starts, knowing I won’t make it to the beach after Labor Day (though really, post-tourist season beach walks are the best). Because of the new job, I don’t really have vacation time to work with and so there won’t be any trip to Maine or Canada this year. I have to focus on “local;” the beach, fresh corn cooked the day it was picked, Lobster Fest and our new town fireworks tradition of Illumination Night.

Work on the house continues. L has repainted and reorganized the pantry, I am working slowly through the clothes that don’t fit or are long out of style, and trying not to bring in very many new ones. My new workplace is much more casual than the old one, so I don’t need a lot of things and I’m trying to get used to the idea of living like that – a sort of downsizing without selling the house. I can’t remember what it’s like to live with closets not bursting at the seams, but both my health and this political climate have me wanting to live much more simply. It’s a slow slog.  I am not yet ready for the small space of a condo – or a houseboat.

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