I arrived on the mist-covered wooden dock this morning as the sun was coming up, just peeking over the horizon. Long warm rays are penetrating cool layers of fog. The mountain is barely visible, and the green highlights of tall pines are shining through the mist. Just as I sat down, I could hear the splashing of baby loon wings beating against the water. Accompanied by loon cries of encouragement from mom and dad, the little loons flap forward about 30 feet, trying to take off but not yet getting airborne. They’ve been trying over and over, and soon those babies will be ready to fly south.

Now that August has arrived, so have most of the lake neighbors, who usually come now through Labor Day. Though I love the quiet months of June and July here, it’s nice to see some people on the lake. Sailboat races have begun, with giant 125-year-old sailboats competing for the annual silver cup. There is nothing quite as beautiful as seeing an old wooden boat keeled over, people leaning out over the water, and that yellow ochre sail against the purple mountain in the background. It’s a painting waiting to happen, and one I’ve done many times, yet the perfect one has yet to be done. One has to capture a moment with a quick sketch, or cheat with a photo, to drop the boat into the scene.

August is also a reminder that my three remaining weeks here need to be filled with bucket list places to visit and paint, chores that need to be finished, kayak rides to take, and family memories to be created. I’d better get off the dock and get busy, starting today.

Rather than getting into anything in-depth or “heavy” today, I thought it would be nice to give you a simple reminder: “Put your own mask on before helping others.” The classic line from airline travel.

What I want to remind you of is that in this busy place we call life, you have lots to do, lots of people to take care of, lots of responsibilities, pressure, and maybe stress. If you’re not taking care of yourself, you’re unable to do a stellar job of helping others.

I’ve spoken about the value of summers, and since summer will be gone in just a few weeks, I want to encourage you to find some way to give yourself some more time. It may be a well deserved vacation, or if that’s not possible, find a way to do something to bring you some peace and joy. It’s amazing to me how a walk in the woods does wonders for me. Maybe it’s an afternoon of fishing … or painting. Try to get to a comfortable place to do something you cannot do every day at home (like TV) and treat yourself.

In my crazy existence I run continuously for months on end, traveling, doing meetings, meeting deadlines, and the only reason I can run at full throttle is because I make a point to give myself some personal oxygen.

If you’re high-strung, you’ll tell yourself there isn’t time, there isn’t money, or there will be some other excuse. Though these things may be very real, you have to find time for you as much as possible.

Do something for yourself today, and try to find as much time for yourself as possible before summer ends. If you’re thinking, “There is always next summer,” just know that’s not guaranteed. Be bold and take care of yourself first. Others who rely on you will understand.

Last week I learned of yet another acquaintance felled by an unexpected stroke, and you may remember my story about my friend who had a stroke, and six months later has had no improvement.

Take special moments while you can. You deserve them.

Have a great day.