Reflecting on Oneself

May 29, 2008
By Samantha Meyer, Park City, UT

Every summer, I go to my grandma’s lake house in Vermont. It is located on Lake Champlain, which is bordered by New York, Vermont, and Canada. My family and I stay there for 2 or 3 weeks, and I love it. It is always the highlight of the summer, and the year. The lake has a calming effect on me, and I always find myself devoid of all bad emotions while there. Finding oneself only requires realizing there are things more significant than you.

Just 2 years ago, my grandma Bobo bought a boat for the lake house. When we are there, everyone piles into the boat and goes knee boarding and tubing. I love that boat. When I drive it, I like to sit up on the top of my seat so I can feel the wind on my face. I feel completely peaceful up there, and forget all the people I miss, or the things I do wrong.

My strongest memory of a boat ride is when my little sister and I were sitting on the front of Bobo’s neighbor’s boat, looking over the edge together. Our reflections wavered with the water, and the light was receding so the lake water looked bright and inviting. The setting sun put golden rays around our heads, like glowing halos.

“Look Ellie”, I said. “Look at the angels.”

We looked for the angels the rest of the summer, and I didn’t have the heart to tell Ellie that the angels were us. I think she knew, though. We both wanted to believe that we had seen them, so we kept it inside ourselves, to remember at night when the lake called us and we couldn’t go to it. Ellie and I had been fighting all that summer, and seeing our reflections in the lake brought us together in our quest for the angels, and for the angel inside ourselves.

That feeling is comparable to the feeling I get when I am underneath the green tinged water, after a long day in the sun. Diving into the cool water makes me burst with happiness, because I know nothing can get me under there. All my fears, all my enemies, are chased away when I enter the water, and my heart nearly breaks when I have to come up again. I have built up my lung capacity over the years to the point when I can stay under for up to a minute and a half. When I float there beneath the water, looking up at the sun, I talk to my lake, about everything, and have little conversations with it.

“Lake?” I would whisper in my mind. “Are you there?”

And my lake would whisper back, “I’m always here.”

My lake takes the place of all my friends I miss, and my dog, and my house, and fills in the gap with its constant reassurances that it will never leave me.

My cousins come there too, so I have to share the boat, but the water is something that is mine and everyone else’s at the same time.
Both of my Vermont loves are constant, but while the boat is stable and solid, the lake is always swirling and changing unexpectedly. The lake is similar to my life, taking unforeseen twists and turns, without asking permission from me first. It is like my feelings, and my family and friends; incessantly changing, like my life and everyone else’s. I tell my lake everything and anything, because I know it will listen. It is the best friend I’ve always wanted: always patient, never angry at me, and always there for me when I need it.

Staying at the lake house enable me to be close to my lake, and keeps me centered physically and emotionally. The Lake’s environment and composition are continuously changing, but it will forever be the same to me.

Change helps to put things in perspective. If everything was always the same, how could you compare things? In order to reflect, you need similarities, and serenity.

I wish I had a lake in my own life, at home. A lake to calm me and put me at ease would be so wonderful, and so grounding. For now however, I have to wait for a year to go there. And although I miss it terribly, the wait is worth it when I catch my first glimpse of freedom.

I am hatching a secret plan in my head to go there when I am 15 or 16 and spend the summer there. I would get a job, and stay with my grandma in her lake house. That way I could drive the boat whenever I wanted, have money, and be able to swim with my metaphorical best friend as much as I want, or need.

The one thing that I treasure more than the water or the Boat is coming back to them. When we pull into the gravelly driveway, I take in the familiar environment, and I rush out of the car to go inside, where I can lose myself for a while in the serenity of my lake. The knowledge that the house, the boat and especially my lake will be the same to me as last year gives me the courage to see how much I have changed myself.

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