by Judy Steers
It’s THAT time of day. You know the one. Where the sun is slicing through the trees at a sharp angle. It’s warm while it’s on you and losing that hot edge like it had back in July. Wrapped in a damp towel, your hair wild and wind-blown, you’re gingerly walking barefoot on the soft moss and hard stones back to shelter – whether that’s the tent, the camper, or the cottage.
You’re a bit wet still from an afternoon of playing in the waves and paddling down the wind and lying in the sun. You’ve body surfed and got rolled over and come up laughing. You’ve had a cold beer or soda or juicy apple or a bag of salty chips on the dock and now, it’s time to shift to the Later Things.
But right now? Now is that beautiful in-between time where you look for the mossy patch stepping stones to take your feet back to warm clothes and lunch dishes still on the table (because you were just so keen to get out on the afternoon adventure).
You wrap up in flannel and someone lights the barbeque or the fire. The water and the wind still roar and the towels dance in the line. You’re warm and happy and surrounded by people you love. Good food awaits. The promise of campfire, s’mores and the wind in the trees to lull you to sleep.
You’re 10 years old at Girl Guide camp, you’re 20-something on a short weekend with friends, you’re 40-something wrapping shivering children in big fluffy towels, you’re staring down 60 and feel like all of them.
5:00 pm on a late summer afternoon is pure magic. It’s the transition between splashing, shivering fun and warm well-fed contentment. The tentative barefoot steps on the moss tell you you’ve been here before, and your heart is grateful you get to do it again.
Judy is a school chaplain in her work life and a kayaker and board game geek in her play life. She lives in Guelph and regularly waves as Sam bikes past her house on her cool Brompton. She is now past 60 and still loves playing in the waves and campfire.