Lake George. The day after the family meeting is always quiet. Maybe particularly so, after a weekend of activities, the gathering of generations to discuss age-old considerations for our shared property.
This year, as in recent years, the family has been pulling together. There is a noticeable absence of rancor, as if for this brief period in time each of us is aware on some level that the wheel of life is turning, that sooner than we think, we’ll be passing through the same gates our ancestors did.
One of my cousins aptly described the meeting as “the big tick” in the clock of our lives. We see it, we feel it, we know it – perhaps here more than anywhere else in our lives.
Even the surface of the lake was calm last night, as if to give me a better glimpse into its depths. For me, this place is always thick with emotion. I can’t take a step without being aware that I’m moving in the prints of all those who have gone before me.
The essence of my mother: her love of family, reverence for nature, love of books – these things surround me. The scent of pine, the mustiness of old houses, the clear lake, the rich damp earth anchor me both in the here and now and in the past.
For several years, after my mother passed away, her absence was a sharp pain. This was the place where I always envisioned her, the place where she should have been. I wanted to share my daughter with her, to fall into the comfort of her loving arms, to know there was a place where I belonged.
This year the ache of loss has eased. I still miss both of my parents, but I see myself in the still reflection of the lake, another branch of our family tree, my roots entwined with those of the other trees along the shore. One falls, and another takes its place.
I was just chatting with a “friend” on Instagram. We were connecting about our love of animals and nature, and our conversation suddenly took a turn. She told me that her mother’s birthday was tomorrow. I knew that her mother had died and sensed that she felt this loss intensely.
I felt a sudden deep empathy. My mother is gone too, and her birthday was in late June.
My Instagram friend is a writer like I am and her words made me pause. Read the rest of this entry »
I’ve been at the lake for almost a week, just enough time to slip into the rhythm of a lake dweller. Someone who has forgotten the minutiae that occupied my mind before I arrived, someone who eats meals on the deck and no longer cares about washing my hair, someone who takes note of the wind and checks the surface of the lake each time I’m outside. Someone who cools off before dinner with a swim.
Here at Lake George the weather shifts from cool and windy to warm and sunny to damp and rainy within a few hours. Read the rest of this entry »