The Island

It is the fourth of July.

I am sitting in the backyard at my in-laws house with green on every side. Life is teeming around me, burgeoning, crawling, bursting, making the most of summer. It is July and there is nothing to lose, see? David is reading next to me. The kids packed a picnic and went to the park. They know the way. They will come home sweaty and happy and smelling like grass and monkey bars.

Lake Huron gave Lake Michigan a run for its money this week. We spent two days on Mackinac Island (love those back-to-back silent consonants), biking and exploring and swimming and fudging and kiting. It was idyllic in every way. Even the sleeping was divine. We'd wake to find the children eleven hours later still breathing heavily, cheeks pink, limbs askew, childhood dreams and damp island air swirling around them, the deep, wide lake keeping watch from the window.

We rode our bikes for miles, around the island, along the rocky northern coast, past the spot where the British landed in 1812, down past Devil's Kitchen, and back into town. We got off and walked our bikes to the top of the island and screamed and laughed our way back down the steep, tree-lined trails to the water. We saw Skull Cave and Sugar Loaf and Arch Rock, which look exactly like they sound, though Ethan told me in confidence that Sugar Loaf doesn't taste like sugar.

Every afternoon we'd strip in the trees and cool off in the clear, cold lake, wading out past the rocks until we found Huron's sandy bottom. We'd swim until we were frozen, Ethan and I giving up before the others, and then drip dry on the warm white rocks.

There were a couple afternoon hours spent reading and dozing in the cutest library you've ever has a back patio with two adirondack chairs just on the edge of the lake, facing a red lighthouse, if you can believe it.

There are candy shops everywhere you go, and you can watch your children press their faces against the glass as men in pink aprons stir giant pots of fudge and pour them onto marble slabs. And you will be hard pressed to figure out which you want to eat more. If I licked my children they would taste like the last delicious bit of a melty ice cream cone and nectar and sunshine and cold lake water, and I would never be hungry again.

Tonight there will be fireworks and a brass band on the grass and John Phillips Sousa keeping time to it all.

It is July, and we are living life all out.

It is July, and we are living like we have nothing to lose.