One of the things I was looking forward to on vacation was blogging more and reading a lot more. What is a lakeside retreat vacation for, if not for wiling away the hours with a good book (or blog)?
However, as in any vacation, the time flies by so quickly. With the blink of an eye it is Thursday night and it is time to begrudgingly think about packing the luggage back up. As you can probably tell, I have only been producing the ‘usual’ amount of blog posts. And I have barely touched my book. But I have a perfectly good and time-honored reason for not being more productive. The Circle.
Every July, the families of my mother and her three brothers (as well as many members of the extended family — we are 66 strong this year!) make the very scenic and calming drive up to Fish Creek, Wisconsin. The Circle is our traditional end-of-the-evening event. After dinner and other fun-filled evening events, the young children go to bed, the older kids find their own place to gather and the adult form The Circle.
For many years, The Circle was invariably based on the deck of the cottage my parents occupied. And it was the place to be. The swapping of stories, rehashing old memories and catching up with each other all happen in The Circle. And it usually happened loudly, the lots of laughter and with some good-natured ribbling. Family members are drawn to The Circle no matter the level of precipitation, temperature or ferocity of biting/stinging insects. Wear a sweatshirt, move indoors or fire up a few citronella candles, The Circle is calling.
The Circle is so powerful that we intentionally stayed in musty, dingy, uncomfortable and just pain inferior cottages well after our families outgrew them, solely because they were all on the same property and therefore made convening The Circle much easier. In fact, multiple members of the family were worried that The Circle would never reform if we became a bit more scattered. While that didn’t quite happen once we changed to better living quarters three years ago, I do feel like the power of The Circle had dwindled. Which I found sad, especially because I hadn’t ever really been a full participant in The Circle yet.
As mentioned earlier, The Circle was for the adults. For most of the years that I have been coming to Fish Creek, I was not an adult. Even when I was in college, I didn’t feel like a full-fledged member of The Circle. I felt like there were a few things that the adults were holding back on because their kids (who weren’t actually kids anymore) were now there. Maybe it was all of those years of The Circle being close (especially because I heard bits and pieces (and lots of laughter) with it being at my parents’ cottage), but not close enough to touch that built it up to being a bigger deal than it was. A ‘forbidden fruit’ of sorts.
The move to the new location did take away a bit of the energy of The Circle to some degree. We just couldn’t find the right location and right set-up. However, this year The Circle has been back to it’s full glory. We have set up shop on the front lawn of the place where my family is staying along with my brother, sister-in-law and their son. And most every night, everyone has been there. Sharing old stories about previous Fish Creek trips, stories about the family’s old, decrepid RV (which definitely needs it’s own blog post and had me laughing so hard I was crying earlier this week) some good natured needling about the aquatic adventures that the family undertook, a ‘cougar attack’ and so much more.
So, after a brief down turn, The Circle is back and better than ever. Which is great because I have been looking for some adult traditions with which I can make my children and their cousins jealous. They already get to go to The Bayside Tavern and eat the chili.