The lake. Our lake.
The lake that captures western sun and turns glassy waters pink like salmon as day draws dusky. That captures eastern sky with new day’s brightness, flourishing crystal waters as an orange never-used crayon. That dawns with possibility and newness. Each day, as if untouched.
The lake that sees summertime memory making. Whose permanence is landscape to our memories. The backdrop for so little, yet so much: Horse shoe clinks. Badminton swishes. Dock jumping. Fledging friendships begun over sand castle building. Catching first fish. Rowing first boats. Grilling quiet dinners.
And yes, even the mosquito bites, the sunburns, the poison ivy, the late afternoon, sans-nap toddler, tantrum-ing and rife with wriggling, wet sandy bathing suit.
For memories, like life, we find, even here in this perfect haven, are punctuated with the good, the bad. Those light, airy, happy and those etched with tinges of sadness or regret. Because our yesterday and our today are not all sunshine and unicorns.
The lake that mirrors staggering old growth pines from island to shore. Alone. Unrippled. Undisturbed. Perfect. We dub it Tom Sawyer Island, our island in lake’s middle.
And even in the weeds, beauty. Rooted dozens of feet below surface in muddy, silty lake bottom. Lily – pad clustered flowers. Delicate mauves and lucent yellows. Pinks, pastel and radiant. Greens, lush and lime-y. Radiance brimming as we approach and admire up close their inviting newness in screeching, clunky rowboat. God’s gift to us, these nature’s decorations. These petals curving skyward. Giving homage it seems, to the Lord. To their creator.
And the summer sounds, the-unnoticeable-elsewhere-yet-intensified-here soundtrack of the lake. Canoe and paddler rhythmically slicing glassy waters. A widening V disappearing, reappearing. Whose continuous beat, it seems, if set to metronome, would not falter.
The insistent cicadas. Grabbing us, pressing into our consciousness, forcing us to notice. Throbbing. Louder, thicker. Their near hysteria, unremitting, garnishing our senses. An awakening to the ever presence of God’s creatures. Even the insects we deem unappealing. These creatures, at the lake, our lake.
And above, azure skies hold chunky, ragged-edged clouds of pure white. Sailing, racing almost. Casting silhouettes of pine, of birch, of long necked Canada geese ashore.
Our lake is storybook. A storybook that is real. As real to us as deadlines, as commitments, as taxes, as ever present life, as eventual death. And so, we create intermission in our lives, a schedule-less time out to touch this realness and live the lake’s story summer after summer.
With those who matter most. Discovering what matters most.
Even on days not idyllic, not picture perfect. When storms threaten and drizzle lingers. Days whose dawns hold sticky grey-ness and a promise for dullness ahead. Whose afternoons hold a harsh word for which we eventually ask forgiveness or offer forgiveness. On these days too, even on these days, it is a place where eternity is glimpsed.
It is a place whose stories will be lived and relived in many times and places: Southward on I -87 as we wind homeward the Saturday bookending our week. On Tuesday evening two years from now after baseball practice, over an uneventful spicy chili and crusty Italian bread dinner. Over our Thanksgiving feast a half dozen years from now, pumpkin pie and simmering cider fragrances wafting throughout dining room. Or Christmas Eve a decade from now, tree adorned and Adirondack ornaments admired once again, as my boys settle into home after an autumn away at college. During tuxedo fittings where one son is groom and one, best man, two decades in the future. And perhaps as their own children, the same ages my boys are now, trick or treat together, flit around playgrounds together, perhaps even swim to our island or cast fishing lines together.
Our lake is the closest place to Heaven that there is on Earth.
Copyright 2011 Christine Mooney