For me, the sweet spot of summer comes when I’m wearing a flannel shirt in the morning and a bathing suit in the afternoon. That’s exactly what yesterday was.
When it’s Saturday, your guy has a rare night off, and there’s a weather forecast for sunshine and temperatures in the low 80s, you make a plan to get outdoors. This weekend, we set our sights accordingly on Taghkanic Park, located about an hour southeast from home in beautiful Columbia County.
Note: we went to Taghkanic Park, not Taconic Park. We wanted water to get into and Taghkanic has a lake, while Taconic features a pond.
We began our journey in the early afternoon. Packed in the rear of my car was Jeter, a small cooler with snacks and beverages, reading material and an array of towels and blankets. Initially we followed the WAZE lady’s directions, but veered off course (specifically, the Taconic) when we decided to drive through Ghent to pick up some baked goods at The Bartlett House. It was a genius move, to be honest. The chai donut and chocolate croissant were both bomb, like the kind of delicious when you make involuntary moans. Uh, huh.
We arrived at Taghkanic Park somewhere around 2:30, parked and schlepped our stuff down to a lakeside picnic table on a piece of land that offered two easy entries into the sparkling lake. We settled at the table for a nosh, after Jeter’s solo swim, and snacked on guacamole and chips, red pepper spears and the prettiest bottle of rosé. The pastry did not disappoint.
Between swims in the pristine water, there was some reading and some napping under a sun that felt like a warm embrace. It was wonderful to be in a place of nature which didn’t feel crowded or polluted. My last experience in NYS freshwater had been less than positive and I was happy to replace that impression with this idyllic afternoon.
I was in the water three separate times, swimming away from shore to catch up with Jeter, entertaining him by creating bubbles with my feet for him to pop with his gnashing teeth. The water was soft and clear, revealing mussels and beautifully shelled snails. Coming out of the water was a challenge because of the mossiness of some of the larger rocks, but there was no shock of cold from the air upon emergence. It almost felt like moving from a wet version of an environment to a sunny, dry one.
It was heavenly.
In life, we’re rarely aware of when we’re doing something for a final or last time.* I believe, however, that Saturday was the last day this summer that I’ll be swimming in a NYS body of water. It was a lovely way to punctuate the season. After a couple of hours, we loaded up the car and headed towards home. It was the perfect late summer day.
*I was remiss in not mentioning the significance of the date, 9/10. If that day on the calendar doesn’t compel you to seize the day, then you’ve forgotten. #neverforget