I’ve found many ways to love my time at the lake. Looking out over the water, soaking up the sun, watching birds soar across the sky. There are a thousand little moments of peace, instants when the world slips away and my spirit stills.
This fall I discovered the power lurking beneath our dock.
Fish live under there. And by “fish” I mean lots and lots of fish. Little ones, big ones, and all the sizes in between. We even have some catfish that show off their whiskers once in a while.
September found me sitting cross legged by the steps, crumbling stale crackers into the water while BrightSide and the kids went to refuel the boat. The lake became so very quiet. A soundtrack of wind rustling the leaves kept me company as the fish slowly emerged to nibble their snack.
Bolder fish darted to the surface, grabbing the bigger chunks and rushing away, while the more careful ones watched and waited. Some eventually became convinced they were safe, swimming cautiously to nibble at the crumbs, while others waited for food to sink below the surface before taking their share.
Now, this is the lake. These aren’t beautiful tropical fish with striking colors and unique patterns; many would consider them the least majestic members of the fish family. And yet…there’s something special about that time. Sitting in that space, enveloped in quiet, watching light bounce off the water as fish move back and forth below.
He lands softly across the lake,
his reflection rippling gently
in September waters,
then slowly begins to stalk his prey
in the shallows.
Wading in and out of the light,
under low lying branches
and past grassy slopes,
hunting for lunch
with silent, steady steps.
Boats thunder by, music blaring,
and yet he stands,
still as a sentry at the castle gate.
There is quiet in the air,
a waiting filled with anticipation.
We hold our breath and watch
as the blue heron rises.
This is what they will remember:
You, watching them swim,
laughing at their antics while they call out, "Dad, look at this!"
You, smiling at their joyful noise
that disturbs the herons and sends the fishermen scattering.
You, tirelessly patient as you teach them how to
tie a lure, inflate a tube, wakeboard, and play ping pong.
You, and your enthusiastic yes.
Sure, I'll take you out on the boat. Great, let's play pool.
I'd love to have your help making pancakes.
You want to go to the dock? Let me grab my swimsuit.
This is what I will remember:
Your eyes crinkling while you watch them play,
always, always calling out "ready!" then witnessing their latest trick.
You, smiling at their giggles as they try to surf the wake,
bobbing up and down on the waves like corks,
then laughing with them as they crash into the water.
Your kind and gentle spirit enveloping each one,
encouraging them to try something new, patiently teaching them
until you see the glimmer of success in their eyes.
You, marking time by the love you share with our kids.
The yes you give even when the day is long and demands are many.
Your open heart that says yes to theirs as they reach out to spend time
with the man they love more than any other.
These are the things we will remember...
The love, the love, the love.
- ljh 6/26/16
There’s nothing like watching the kids wakeboard at the lake.
Streaking along the water with a breathtaking combination of power and grace…I could watch them for hours while they conquer the elements. Mastering the dance of balance and strength to get up and out of the water. Watching T-man skip back and forth, jumping the wake and landing with a gleeful smile. They exude a pride in themselves that’s beautiful to see.
We spent some time on the water over Memorial Day weekend, and there was this one run that brought Bear right past the dock. I was shooting photos, trying to master focus and lighting, when I noticed a heron swooping along behind her. It was a breathtaking moment – Bear flying across the water with the heron in her wake – a snapshot of nature and my girl intertwined.
But Fat Mum Slim wrote this handy dandy list of 50 things to blog about that’s been hanging out in my Ideas Note. I wrote this about “that life changing moment,” but the prompt I’m tackling today is “The last thing that made you cry.”
If you follow RFTM then you probably already know we like the lake. The kids love the whooping and hollering and racing back and forth on wakeboards part; I love the peaceful, quiet, soothing quality of the lake. Surprisingly, these two perspectives manage to coexist. Which is weird, but everyone comes home happy so it works.