Monday, August 20, 2007
The lake bottom is cocoa brown as my canoe whispers through the water above it; my oar is a spoon in silky hot chocolate. The tips of pine trees cast patches of morning sun along the edges of the bank as I peer down into the water. A glimmer of something in the muck catches my eye, perhaps a remnant from one of our many water games over years of summers here. I pass over a twisted log that has lived at the silty bottom as long as I can remember, like an ancient, slumbering frog that we imagined might suddenly open its lake-scum eyes as we dove down just for the scare of it and swam back up again, reaching for the safety of the sunny sky above. This sludgy floor is the dusty treasure chest holding all the mysteries, dreams, and memories of every sunrise and sunset between the months of May and August during every summer of my life at Highland Lake in Northern Pennsylvania.
Summers cannot exist without the lake, and the lake cannot exist without summers. Our time spent here is a sensual experience through and through. The season is allowed to fully bloom into itself, and so are we – my Parents, Siblings, Cousins, Aunts, Uncles, and Grandparents, who congregate here every year for days and days of summertime delight. The lake enkindles each of our senses: a bare foot padding over damp earth and moss, the wind chimes twinkling in the boat house as waves lap softly against the bow of the sailboat, chicken “speedies” on the grill (a local favorite) with peachy Finger Lakes wine, the gray outlines of bats swooping between the pines and over the water as the sun sets behind the trees, and the smell of the wood stove in the cottage on cool days. All these experiences exist for us now and tomorrow, but they are also steeped in the past, conjuring up memories that enrich every moment.
Each of us has a special place we long for or go to for refuge from the big, wild world. It may be as vast as a park or as small as a pleasant corner or sitting area in the house. Highland Lake serves this purpose for me; I know my family members who stay at the lake during the summers would say the same. We are so lucky to have it. Where is your special place in the world?
Please note: I apologize for having been away from my blog for a good while...I have no other excuse than that I was at the lake. I hope to get back to my regular writing schedule now that the summer holidays are winding down. Thanks as always for reading!