I am sitting in the screened in porch, looking out over the lake. It is raining today, a soft sultry rain that lays moist against the earth. A gentle breeze whispers to the leaves stories of the places its been, the things its seen through its travels. I watch the raindrops spit against the surface of the lake, the birds become quiet in the rain.
I am peaceful.
Yesterday, I went swimming. I was surprised.
Normally, C.C. and I journey here in October. It is usually one of our friends last weeks at the lake house before returning to Calgary in time for the winter season. Usually, the lake is ice cold and I am the only one braving (the locals call it ‘crazy’) its waters. Usually, I leap in, gasp and scream and curse the frigidness of the water and flail about for a few brief strokes before racing for the ladder at the end of the dock. It is exhilarating. Refreshing. Renewing. And it is cold. It makes me laugh and scream and dance about. It makes me feel alive.
From the frigid waters to the house is a hundred feet and I cross it fast to find comfort in the steam room which I’ve ensured is nice and hot before I enter the waters.
It is my ritual every day we are here in the autumn and while I pretend it is excruciatingly cold, I love it.
Yesterday, the waters were welcoming. Not hot. Not cold. Welcoming. Silky smooth against my skin, they felt like butter melting on warm cinnamon toast, buoying me up with their velvety arms as I swam out from shore towards the middle of the lake.
It was relaxing, refreshing, renewing.
And when I climbed up the ladder to the dock, I lay against the warm wooden slats and let the sun soak into my skin, the air caress my legs as the conversation of C.C. and Renate and Tamara (our hosts two grown daughters) wafted around me. There was no place to get to. No need to be. Nowhere to go. There was only there, in that place where I was in the moment of experiencing the beauty and wonder all around me.
Later, after dinner, we wandered down to the dock and sat in the evening light. Pink gauzy clouds floated above, their reflection drifting lazily across the water’s surface. Two loons bobbed in the bay, a turtle slid across a rock and splashed into the water.
We laughed and joked and Tamara and Renata shared stories of the people on the lake, this lake where they have spent their childhoods and grown roots and run along the shore and swam in the waters and water-skiied and bbq’ed and snuck a kiss with a boy behind the barn and stared up into the star-filled sky late into the night. This lake that has witnessed the years pass from childhood delights to grown-up angsts and joys and moments to remember. This lake that has been a silent witness to the seasons passing. This lake that has, as Renata called it, ‘the taste of home’.
Eventually, the evening bugs began to thicken and the others walked back up to the house. Unwilling to let a moment slip away without my tasting of its treasures, I sat alone upon the dock and watched the sky turn from cerulean to indigo. A lone star peeked out from night’s blanket until I finally had to accede to the critters flitting all around. Bidding the night adieu, I let go of savouring the night and slowly walked back up towards the house.
Another day was done beside the lake, and my soul is soaking up the joy of having to be nowhere but exactly where I am, luxuriating in summertime at the edge of the water.
And I wonder. What if… I could carry the luxury of my soul into the city? What if amidst the concrete and the traffic noise, I let myself fall into the waters calling me to take a breath, to sit quietly at the end of the day and simply be present? What if, I expand my senses to embrace the memory of that moment, sitting at the edge of the water, feeling the night settling around me to allow myself to simply become, present where ever I am?
What if all I need to feel myself present to the world around me already is within me?
What if, I never need to go away to find myself where I’m at?
(ps — my little device that let’s me transfer photos from my iphone to ipad is not working. I’m going to work on getting photos posted so you too can savour the beauty of the moment with me)