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Updated: Nov 5, 2020

October 1, 2020

Fall isn't my favorite season but I do appreciate the light in September, which is richer and more golden than at any other time of the year. Yesterday may have been our best day, light-wise, in all of 2020. It was so beautiful that Stephanie and I decided all at once to go boating, even though we'd had other stuff planned.

We took all three dogs with us. To our amazement (make that utter amazement), they didn’t freak out at all, even the two youngsters. In fact, they were great company.

Rafael, who loves water more than life itself, swam until he couldn’t stop shivering. Agent 99 hurled herself overboard in pursuit of some passing ducks, and Stephanie (fortunately a lifeguard) had to haul that lanky girl out, all flailing legs and pointy elbows. Giorgio hid under the captain’s chair.

The adventurous boater (Agent 99)

Rafael, our only actual swimmer

Giorgio eventually ventured out to join us.

Brave boy!

The water is cold now, but calm. Not much boating happens this late in the year so we pretty much had the lake to ourselves yesterday. Now we wear sweaters and hats instead of swimsuits. We drive slowly so the wind doesn’t chap our faces.

There was so little boat traffic that we mostly just drifted along, not even throwing down the anchor. It was deliciously peaceful. Giorgio emerged from hiding in time for our little pack enjoy the sunset together, the fresh air, the last boat trip of the season.

We said au revoir to the mini-Statue of Liberty one of our lake neighbors lets everyone enjoy every summer.

But even on Lake Hopatcong this year, no one’s allowed to forget it’s 2020. There are political signs in front of the houses now, and a lot of Trump banners and American flags on the boats. We’ve been boating on this lake for 12 years and have never seen anything like this before.

It didn’t spoil the day, but I’d rather have just been looking at water, sky and trees.

Illustration: Joe Heller, of

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