This morning I woke up with an image of the morning mist on Dunham Lake and was overcome with a wave of homesickness; that desperate longing for the place that knows you best. I do so miss Dunham Lake.
Years ago when I was young and strong the kids and I would spend one week out of every summer month up north with my parents. I had spent every summer of my life there and it was a blessing to be able to share the place, my place, with them. In the morning I would wake early, put on my swimsuit beneath jeans and a sweat shirt and sneak quietly out of the house. Leaving my beach towel on the line I would get on my bike and ride around the lake. Kris the dog usually accompanied me.
It wasn't a big lake, the trip was probably only a few miles, but there were some killer hills that I admit having to walk up more often than ride. We stopped now and then for Kris to jump in the lake, get a drink and cool off.
Just past the drive to Aunt Loraine's house was a huge hill going down and I would go so fast that Kris could hardly keep up. It's probably a miracle I didn't kill myself since this was way before the age of helmets. (And honestly, even if it wasn't I probably wouldn't have worn one.) Then it was round the bend, past Inga and Albins, the Bovingtons, Aunt Nettie and back to Dunham Lake Drive and home.
Park the bike, grab the towel, down the hill, shedding clothes along the way, and off the end of the dock into the cool, sacred lake. That lake was such a spiritual place for me. I knew more peace there than anywhere else on this planet.
The mist still rolled over the water and I swam out into it and the quiet. So quiet, though I was never alone. The loons were always there and playful, swimming below me and up on the other side. Often Mother Loon would bring her babies just close enough for me to admire. Turtles popped their heads up now and then and I knew the geese were around, but kept a distance as was their way. I would float on my back and watch the clouds drift by. It was my happy place. It's a place I still go to in meditation.
Eventually I would look up the hill to see my mother on the deck. She was not as comfortable with water as I and feared I would drown. From that far up the hill there wouldn't be much she could do about it, but it made her feel better to watch. There was no reason to fear for that lake and I were like sisters. She knew me, nurtured me, held me up with love. There was no way I would have come to harm in that space.
I would float and swim until more faces appeared on the deck and I knew that it was time to join them. It was a most excellent way to begin a day.
The photo above is taken from an MLS listing. The house that my grandparents built and my parents retired to is for sale and that fact eats at me some. It makes me so sad that a place that housed so much joy now sits empty and waiting. I check the listing every couple of weeks ( I know....I need to let it go)and watch the price drop. It would never drop far enough for us to purchase it and even if we could, maybe it's true that you can't go home. I don't know. I know I still grieve for its loss and some times, like this morning, it calls to me.
Dunham Lake, there is no way that I could express my thanks adequately for how you shaped my life. No other place or event had a bigger impact on who I am today than the years I spent floating in your arms or roaming the woods around you. You opened the door to wonder and possibility and I promise to always keep those door open. Namaste.