I'm in New Hampshire for a week and to paraphrase a well known song, the living is easy. So far, we've mostly been lucky with the weather. It's been a bit cooler than the normal July, but we've seen sunshine every day and had very little rain.
We stay by a lake in the town of Wolfeboro on the east side of Lake Winnipesaukee. Wolfeboro itself is a town of about 6,000 people, but it expands to a larger population during the summer tourist season. Why Wolfeboro? My family loves the outdoors and here we have easy access to lakes for swimming and kayaking and a path for walking and biking. Plus, the town has lots of cultural assets.
The Heifetz Institute convenes every summer here and puts on three performances a week. We particularly like their "Stars of Tomorrow" series, which features young musicians -- teens to early twenties -- who are studying at the Institute, but are already virtuosos on a variety of stringed instruments. Last night, the music had a Russian flavor. The night began with violinist Ekaterina Tarsova from Moscow on violin, playing music from Porgy and Bess. Ms. Tarsova had a flair for the dramatic, which began with her outfit, a dark dress which clung tight to her bosom and hips, and was slit on the side several inches above her knees. She played the Gershwin music with passion and clarity, bringing out its emotional side, her bow arm extending out after completing tight musical phrases. Later, the Russian theme continued, in the person of Dimitry Volkov, also from Moscow. Dimitry announced this piece, Variations on a Theme of Rossini's "Moses" by Bohuslav Martinu, by comparing it to the Tom and Jerry cartoons, where the pianist played the mouse and he the cat. We soon found out what he meant. Dimitry attacked the piece with gusto on his cello and played intricate runs up and down his instrument, interspersed with quieter moments, like the catching of breath. His dark brown hair and clever smile reminded me of the Russian masters of dance, Nureyev and Baryshnikov, in their younger days. Like the best musicians, he showed mastery of the instrument, but also connected with the soul of the music.
So, yes, Wolfeboro has its cultural side. For those who like to tune into nature in this summer season, the area has much to offer. During the day, I paddled with a kayak out onto one of the lakes. On this day, the sun shown brightly and ample breezes rippled the waters, adding to the challenges of riding the kayak, as the water undulated due to the wind and wakes from various motorboats. Still, I enjoyed my ride and paddled through a creek connecting two lakes before turning back. Upon my return, I beheld a most unusual sight. As I traversed from the creek into the broader lake, I noticed a covey of several birds, floating perhaps a hundred feet from the edge of the lake. In my mind I thought flotilla, probably of ducks. But I was wrong. Paddling closer and coming within ten feet of the nearly dozen birds who wove an uneven string to my right, I saw the distinctive black heads and extended necks of loons. Loons are a special sight in New Hampshire and have been under threat from the increased human use of the lakes which serve as their habitats. Usually I count myself lucky to see a single loon when the lakes are quiet. But a flotilla of loons? What a treat.
So this place is special, a land of lake waters, tree-filled shorelines and many places to roam on foot or by boat. Here are sights and sounds to store away to warm the mind and soul during those other cooler seasons which lay ahead of us.