There is no better feeling to me than to lie on my back…eyes heavenward..searching the bluest of skies…and the only sound being that of muffled water flowing around me..it is indeed “my happy place.” In times of crisis people often will tell each other to find their “place,” retreat to it when the world feels as if it is caving in on your soul, we will repeat the mantra…”Find your happy place…find your happy place.” I’m not quite sure of the origin of this saying, however it does seem to be medicine for the soul when we retreat there to breathe in…just relax..let the cares and the weight on your shoulders just drift away into the great beyond.
The first thing I do when I step from my van,( or in this case, …my rented 31 foot RV,) is to breathe in deep…the smell of fresh pine intoxicates my senses, then often ,the drone of a boat motor in the distance, the gentle lapping of waves upon the firm Canadian Shield rock….I step into the water gingerly as its oft times slick on the rocks , I stretch my arms above my head, and I dive in…oh the bliss of that water enveloping me..and I am home. As I rise to the surface, and look around me…well the scenery just never gets old, it is beautiful and familiar, and oh so very comforting. So many memories have been spent and felt here..there has been deep love of family and friends shared by the dock, in the water, skiing behind the boat, swimming across the lake…sailing..snorkeling for lost treasure..(mostly sunglasses, lost bracelets…old shoes…in the murky depths beneath,) and I am surrounded….uplifted. It is good to be here…to remember those who have gone before, who have swum in these waters, embraced the lake and it enjoyed its power to refresh and enliven our inmost being. I have often wished to be a fish…to just glide through the mysterious depths, and swim my life away….but then again..there is always the danger of the hook..the fisherman, the thing that seemed enticing, until you bit in deep and were hooked?…hauled to the surface gasping for air, and realizing too late..that life had knocked the breath right out of you. As I drift along pondering these deep..well at least (deep for me) thoughts..ha…I wonder how many times I’ve been in this lake, and how many times I thought I would drown from the pressure from life that I felt. When I was happy I would float, when I was sad..I would do the same, except that my tears would fall soundlessly down my cheeks, and join with the water, perhaps with other tears from people who also felt their grief here. What secrets have been told here, what pain and mysterious longing has the lake felt….all of these things I pondered as I just rested there on the surface….and I was grateful.
It seems to me that often you start out on a trip, with a basic idea about where you are going, itinerary, or GPS on board…sunflower seeds and licorice for snacking on, and memories and thoughts begin to cloud your mind. Many times I have been so lost in these thoughts that I have had to concentrate on where I was even trying to go…daydreaming away, unaware I was not really being present on this journey that I have embarked on. Then again..there is a strange sense of calm and wonder having your loved ones along side you, napping, playing video games, snacking….there is a wonderfulness of being cooped up together in this way…being surrounded by one another…such great conversations..and sometimes heated, and shall we say passionate discussions erupt from these excursions. It is great..it is awesome…it is life..sweaty, tiring and uncomfortable, and yet so often so exhilarating and painfully sweet, the wonder of it overwhelms my heart.
On this particular trip there were some moments that particularly stood out to me… My brother Mark, and his wife Carylin and son Mikhail visited last week. We enjoyed some visiting in the screened in porch, a wonderful “cooked on the grill” meal, and then decided to go for a boat ride. My brother asked if he could carry my daughter down to the dock so that she could come with us for a boat ride….ok…so..Bianca loves to go in the boat, but there is a great length of stairs that must be navigated very carefully on the way down to the water. I sat her on my lap, struggled and fumbled her into a life jacket, and then Mark scooped her up in his arms. She weighs about 88 pounds, but she is unable to help, hang on to him, or assist in any way, so the “carry” is no easy task. As I follow behind with a big lump in my throat, I am always so touched and slain at her utter dependence on us. Somehow though when I see him carrying her in his arms, so protected, so loved, I can hardly bring air to my lungs..the complicated beauty of this moment. I lower myself into the boat, and my brother lifts her to me. I balance her on my lap, my Mum gets in, as does my brother, his wife and son. The two golden retrievers, Humber and Dakota join us eagerly. The engine roars to life, and we set off. I gaze down at my daughter, but before doing so, I know instinctually that she will be grinning because I feel her whole body stiffening with excitement, as the boat begins to pick up speed. This girl loves speed..it just cracks me up…she begins to giggle, shivering with excitement, or perhaps an impending seizure, (who could tell…funny..not funny,) and the joy on her face is exhilarating…so spontaneous…so much delight…she is the epitome of being in the moment of being in “her happy place.” Oh the things this child of mine has shown me….she truly does slay me…. It is such a wonderful thing how she does life, and I’m thankful once again for her being….. Mark carries her back up the lengthy stairs after we return, and I race behind him to catch up, but I am carefully holding deep in the recesses of my heart this blessed moment, experience etched in time when I was able to behold this care, this act of love..this ….. my friends was a priceless moment.
There is always a scrabble or a monopoly game, shared around the old pine table at the lake, and this time was no different. My son Zach is quite the accomplished player, ( even if he does say so himself..) and my Mum, loves to play him, and try to beat him. She tells often of the time that he used all 7 letters twice, back to back, and left her with a score of 200 points to try and recover from. Zach would snicker, and my Mum’s eyes would bug out with exasperation….wondering how she would recover from such a point deficit…this time , Zach, his friend James, and my Mum, sat down again… Most times I don’t play because I find it so fun to silently walk around observing the thrill of completion, snide remarks about crappy letters, and laughter at sounding out words with only vowels, or exactly how you could get only consonants to work with. I usually make hot buttered popcorn, and it gets scarfed up quickly as the brain wheels smoke away…they are competitive even though they pretend that they aren’t.
Logan and friends hang out in the screened in porch, laughing.. tossing a ball back and forth, and giving one another a bad time..sometimes locking each other out of the porch for no apparent reason, other than to be annoying. He insists that this special place at the lake is the best place on earth, and that there is no place that he would rather be……announcing that it is even better than Hawaii, or Mexico…daring me to disagree..(as if I would!)…Plus that kid gets it..he knows what is important in life, and so when he speaks I try to remember to just “shut up” and listen….ok so I’m trying..
i reflect on this ” cottage life” that I have been so blessed to be a part of for so many years, and I want to cling…to linger, to imprint these memories, this unbelievable Joy that I feel in being here..the way it ministers to my very being, how it heals my heart, and lifts me, encourages me to “go again,” to jump into life with all of its challenges and uncertainties….pain and possibilities…to never lose hope…to always search…never just settle for the status quo…to just lay there on the surface of the lake and know that possibilities are endless..sometimes dreams do come true….and if you are very still even a miracle or two….