Delighting in friendships and summer sunsets

Once again, August has ended and summer is slipping away. This time of the year makes me wistful, and I strive to make the most of the evenings before it gets dark too early to go kayaking.

Last week, we had ideal weather for evening paddles, and I took advantage of it by scheduling two kayaking trips with a couple of friends.

On Wednesday, my friend Nicki and I met after work and drove to Park Lake in Pardeeville. For a while, we were the only ones on the lake. The water was like glass as we glided along its edges. Later, two paragliders skimmed over and around the lake, interrupting our quietude but providing entertainment as we paddled.

As we moved about the lake, we searched the trees and shoreline for herons. Every time I’ve been to Park Lake, I’ve seen several herons. This evening, we spotted nine. (Look carefully at the first photo below and see if you can spot the heron in the tree in the center of the photo.) We also saw an osprey successfully pluck its dinner from the lake.

Shortly after watching the sunset, we pulled ashore, loaded the kayaks and headed home. What a spectacular night with a great friend!

The next evening, I met my friend Jenny in Madison at Lake Monona. Once again, the lake was like our personal playground. The water was so placid, we paddled right out to the middle for a great view of downtown and Lake Monona’s eastern shoreline.

A storm brewed to the north, creating striking cloud formations around the late-day sun. We floated across the water like the nearby ducks, letting go of the day.

Very few boaters were on the water—Madisonians were really missing out on this gorgeous evening! Two young guys were having fun with a water jet pack. I’ve never seen anything like that before, and it was fun to watch, but it is certainly not a serene sport like kayaking.

A band played along shore at the Eastside Club, the tunes carrying across the quiet water. I truly didn’t want our evening to end.

Oh, these summer nights on the water with dear friends… these are the reasons I don’t want summer to end!

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