When I was in high school I read an essay called Return to the Lake. I remember that it was a good read, although I couldn’t tell you who wrote it, and I remember that I, along with some other folks, visited Lake Winnepesaukee soon after reading it. The essay was essentially about visiting, as an adult, a lake that had had meaning when the writer was younger. I returned to my own lake this past week.
We all went, this nuclear family of mine. We swam and swam and ate and swam some more. My children love the place, that place being Three Mile Island Camp. It is an Appalachian Mountain Club camp where I worked twenty years ago. I loved it then. It had a huge impact on my life. It still is pretty good.
We stayed in a couple of tiny adjacent rustic cabins right on the lake. I got up every morning, looked out at the still water for ten minutes or so, laid my glasses on the dock, and slipped into the water. I felt cool and calm. Some mornings I swam with loons. One morning I swam in the rain. Then I climbed back to the small porch and waited for my wife and my children to waken.
We had little to do all day. Meals are prepared by the staff and they do the clean-up. The cabins have no electricity, although the main house where family style meals are served does. We played and swam and rested and spent time with friends. We ate at the appropriate times. When it rained we hung out on the porch and drank tea and chatted while the children played games inside. Life is pretty good like that.
Home today we cranked out laundry and mowed the lawn and picked the abundant vegetables from out garden. Check this out:
We ate salad and corn on the cob (local but not ours) and blueberries (we even had some of those ripe!) and veggy burgers for dinner. We looked out over the field and decided it is as good as looking out over a lake. It was hot. If we were still on the lake we would have just jumped in the drink to cool off.
The air has cooled now. The children are off to bed early. I am happy to be home. I could have stayed longer but, like Christmas, experiencing it only once every year increases its appeal and its value. If we lived there year round we couldn’t have this amazing garden. We will return next year to swim and to play and to rest. We have some of that to do around here in the remaining days of summer. And a little work to do as well.
Once we get enough work done, we can return to the lake once again. And we will love being there all over again.