The clear, blue lake carries the echoes of the past. The memories of the smooth red kayak, that was too heavy to carry on my own. And the lighter, blue kayak that could cut through all the white caps on the lake. The warm, dry air that rested lightly on my shoulders, a gentle weight that kept me centered. The loose gravel that graced the shores, stepping from the slippery, moss-covered stones under the water. There would always be dogs running around, happily playing in the water. When the heat became too much, I would sit under the concrete picnic structure and drink sweet, iced tea or cold water that felt like it burned when it ran down your parched throat. We would always get turkey sandwiches from Albertsons, and barbeque chips that sweetened your mouth. My lake memories are filled with the rustling of pages. Some worn and swollen with the water that lapped at the edge of the shore. The short walk to the shore, viewing the mountains peeking through the clouds and watching the storms race across the sky. Sometimes it would rain, but it would only last a short while. The air would cool off and the wind would pick up creating the white caps that would create more adventure than before. I remember the rumble of pickup trucks and splashing of little kids. Or the jingle from a dog’s collar as he came running up the hill. My lake summer smelled like hamburgers and sunscreen, both good in their own right. Then before we would leave we would all get into the water, daring to walk across those slippery rocks once more. Feeling the chill of the water slowly inch its way through my bones. I got used to the cold water, but if you dared to let your feet stretch to the bottom, another shock of cold would come your way. We had races from one side to the other, watching out for branches or rocks jutting up out of the water. The sun would warm our backs and faces as we swam and floated. But then it would be over, the lake would be in my rearview mirror once again. It was the 8th summer that I visited, and each time I left, the lake would still be there. It would wait for a new summer of swimming and kayaking. Then we would have to pack up, loading the heavy kayaks onto the roof of my car. Tying the ropes down was an arduous task, having to stretch my arms and reach for the hot, rough ropes. And crawling under the car to attach the clips to the undercarriage. The best part of hooking up the kayak was standing on the side of the car and throwing the rope over and over. It was relaxing and every now and then I would have to brace against the car when the wind gusted. Or I would pause to wave at a stranger or watch a dog running through the weeds. These are the memories that keep me grounded until my feet touch the familiar ground and I can gaze at the endless blue sky. Then I will be home, once again.
November 28, 2017