Sunday, August 4, 2013

A good vacation in a special place

As vacations go, this one was good. I managed to relax a lot on the porch looking out over the lake — a place where I have spent thousands of hours watching the ceaseless movements of the lake. A storm blew in one evening just before dusk and turned the lake into a boiling cauldron of upheaval, and the lightning flashed and the rain poured so fast that the roads around the lake flooded, but the lake just absorbed it all. The lake calmly endures whatever nature sends, and it encourages us to do the same.

I did some minor repairs to the house, which is feeling its age, and read a book, a good piece of fiction that gripped me with its plot and characters and would not let me put it down.

I also managed to go out to eat twice for wonderfully enjoyable meals, sitting outside both times, once by the edge of the lake and once by a downtown street. Both places felt vibrant and interesting. I walked briskly with my wife for long treks of four or five miles, and we tried our hands at paddling kayaks out into the lake and into nearby coves, examining the lakefront houses and enjoying the gentle rocking of the waves.

A good vacation: Some meaningful work, some relaxation, some family time and the quiet, entrancing enjoyment of a good book. Over the past 40-plus years, I've spent dozens of vacation weeks and scores of weekend getaways at this house by the lake, a place known universally in this family as "The Lake" or "The Lakehouse." There were times of great joy and some times of sadness, too. There were many times of excitement and the most relaxing moments of my life. My wife and I have lived in 11 homes in 42 years, and each stop filled quickly with memories, but this house by the lake is the one axis point that has connected us and drawn us back, year after year. The picture of my little daughters in their nightgowns feeding ducks is as clear as the images of my grandchildren flinging themselves off the end of the dock into the lake's inviting waters. Three generations have thrilled to the sight of the mist rising off the lake's surface in the fall and soft ripples of the lake at early morning and near dusk in the summer.

Whether future generations will know the house and its mile-long view of the peaceful water as we have known it remains an open question. The builders have died and have left the house, much in need of repairs and maintenance, in the hands of another generation that loves this place dearly but might not have the financial resources to keep it in the family. How many more of our vacations might be spent looking out from that second-story porch is in doubt. My wife and her sister are determined to keep the house their parents built in the 1960s, not because it's a great house or it's nearby or it's a museum of their lives but because this location, this view looking out over the lake, forms not just their memories but their lives.

1 comment:

Judith said...

Beautifully written. You are truly blessed to have a lake in your life--a constant source of strength and stability. It absorbs whatever nature sends its way, as we must absorb whatever life sends our way. The lake endures; so can we.