I can almost feel the whisper of the breeze and the sun play against my skin when I think about it.
I can almost hear the lap of the water against the sun-bleached dock.
In high school it was all I could do to leave. My sister and I complained about being so far out of town. How, while our friends could so easily meet up, we were stranded on these 10 acres off country back roads.
Now I dream about going back. Those couple times a year I do, I lament leaving.
Back before the house stood on the hillside overlooking the lake, we lived in a converted Dodge bus on the property and bathed in its water. I usually cried through those bathing sessions. As I dipped under to rinse off, visions of flesh-eating pike darting at my feet haunted me. At that time, the sunfish still darted in shallow parts over the yellow silt that makes up its floor. The pike were much more interested in them than my toes.
Now, swimming in the lake is a luxury found on vacation time. We spend hours there, leaving only to go make sandwiches, until dusk settles in over the sky. My parent’s yellow lab wines and jumps in after anyone taking a dip. The grandchildren, decked in life jackets, toss in noodles that ultimately need rescuing from the marshy shores.
The beauty of a northern summer is the sun lingers long past dinnertime. Reeds bend in the breeze and blue herons make cameos after the dog has settled into a spot on the floating dock. The hills that tuck the lake into its spot provide a buffer from the outside. Previous summer rains trim the lake in green.
Even as the nearby town morphs and grows and draws flocks of tourists, the lake seems preserved in time, its waves glinting in the sun. A haven from the outside busyness I once sought after, and now seek to avoid.