A lake is the landscape’s most beautiful and expressive feature. It is earth’s eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature. ~Henry David Thoreau
I grew up spending summers at the lake. We had nothing more than a pull-behind trailer that we parked on a spot in a campground. It was a mere 45 minutes from our house, but it felt like lightyears away. I spent my time at the campground- on the beach and in the water- as much as possible. I loved to swim. To dive off the diving platform out by the buoys. One side facing the swimming area, with the sandy bottom visible to the eye. The other side, dark and deep with murkiness, the bottom, said to be 30 feet away. The lake had drop offs measured to be 90 feet deep in some areas.
Diving off into the forboding dark side, always felt dangerous and exhilarating. I had worked my way through swim classes, that demanded more and more endurance, skill and survival techniques. Something about just me and that deep water taught me how to grow into trust of myself over the years.
Its been years since I've had the chance to swim like I used to. My non-healing mastectomy wound simply can't be exposed to water. As much as I long for the beach in the summer, I've had to learn to turn that desire down to a low simmer.
It seems that cancer has taught me- that I have to give up some of the healthy parts of myself, in sacrifice to the diseased parts of myself- so that the living parts of myself can go on.
If I can't dive into the deep end of the water? What can I dive into with equal abandon and exhilaration? What new things will I discover by letting go of the wall, and pushing off into the deep end of the uncertain and unknown?
I was giddy to go to the lake this past weekend and explore. My father-in-law's lake, while not being the most swimmer friendly, is boat and fish friendly and our family loves going.
The fish were biting abundantly and often all 3 fishermen had fish on the hook at the same time.
Grandpa Jim has retired the waders this spring, and handed them down to Nolan.
Nolan with some help from Dad rolled both the dock and the boat lift out into the lake and secured them in place for the season.
The lump in my throat grows as I fully feel who isn't amongst us. Rick's mom, Carole's spirit is entwined in every vignette around the lake home. She had an eye for decorating, and making each room a favorite at different times of the day. We miss her so.
Colton and I were fascinated with the squirrels right outside our door. This grey one is HUGE!
It took us awhile to discover that black lump in the tree- is really another squirrel.
We sat by the rocker watching as the birds fed at the feeder, and the squirrels snuck up the stairs to find the seeds Jim had left for them by the door.
But we didn't stay indoors for long. The sun was too inviting.
Nothing but bokeh- my favorite kind to capture.
Grandpa knows exactly what kinds of things boys love to do. The target sat at the edge of the treed area in the distance.
The sun was setting close to 9 pm and I was only too aware of how beautiful it can be setting down by the lake.
But Rick and I would have to drive to get to the right side and find a spot to safely park. We took off without a whisper of where we were going.
We drove and drove. Around one lake and over to another. Past golf courses, and campgrounds.
Till suddenly we happened across an open meadow, that took our breath away instantly. Rick rolled to a stop and we were out with our cameras instantly.
(Its worth clicking on some of these photos to enlarge.)
I wasn't dressed for the long grass, the deep sandy ruts, the thick stubby grass stinging my sandaled feet.
I didn't care. My lungs ached with each climb, each pass I made along the meadows. My lungs burned, my legs ached. Dizziness and breathlessness ensued.
But the smell of the meadow? The white and crisp light bathing every square inch of the earth? And what we would discover as we ventured closer to the pasture?
I was letting go of the wall- pushing off into the deep end. Willing my body to go where my spirit led.
It was the babies that melted me. The Colts. My husband's talented eyes (and big lens) for seeing them in their beauty.
We were miles away from where we needed to be for the sunset. We eventually left to travel the winding gravel roads back to the lake. But first we stopped for deer standing in the road. And then we slowed for the wild turkey stealthily feeding near the ditch. We swerved just in time to spare the turtle, and soon found ourselves back at the lake.
A haze had been apparent all day and made for a muted sun setting, but beautiful just the same.
We ended our weekend visiting family. My Grandma and Grandpa are here under this tree, with my Dad right next to them. Mom will have a spot next to Dad.
My soft hearted- teary-eyed boy who truly misses his Grandpa, and Grandma.
Rick's mom is only a few rows away, right next to her grandson, our nephew, Hunter. Hunter was 4 months old when he left us, and would have been as old as Nolan today.
Our last visit was to see mom. She beamed when we were in the elevator and a resident said to her, "Mary Ann, you have the most company come to visit than anyone I know!"
It shows in my mom what excellent care she is receiving. She is relaxed, strong, and back to a healthier version of herself.
Swimming is still on my bucket list. So I'm letting go again, nosing towards the deep end, and letting Dr. Antoniuk, a local plastic surgeon, try to repair my mastectomy wound.
More details to follow soon. I have cardiac function tests and some blood work to complete and then another visit with Dr. Antoniuk.
As Dory would say in Finding Nemo- "Just keep swimming."