I grew up summers on this lake and loved it more than anything. I still do. I think it is where I fell in love with water and why when I am inconsolable, being near water helps. When I am near waves, I feel calm and centred. Alternatively, the waves are wild and spirited. They can heal or harm.
I am remembering one year on the east coast of the United States where I was living at the time, playing in the waves and getting smacked down. I was lucky to walk away with only having broken my nose and not my neck. Prairie girls really know very little of the power of the sea and yet this lake certainly is not only a source of joy but also a stronghold that can shatter lives. Every summer someone usually drowns on this lake. It is a force with which to be reckoned.
As I stood on the shore of this beach where I spent a decade or so of summers, I marveled at how much it had been built up. These chairs, for example, would never have found their way there. Beach blankets or lawn chairs scattered the beach then. Bushes to hide in are replaced by large cottages that look like year-round homes. The ice-cold stream that filtered into the lake which kept our drinks cold on the hottest of days was completely gone. I did not know whether to marvel or mope at all the changes. My childhood images were completely gone, except for the lake.
On the long weekend this beach would have been a busy hive of activity and yet I stood alone on the beach, not a soul in sight. I was tempted only for a moment to sit in one of these pods of colour but I somehow did not feel welcomed. I felt more like the beach belonged to an exclusive club now. I remembered my first real summer crush, catching frogs, smelling wild roses, and building sand castles as I stood there. None of these remained. What happened to those frogs and roses? Certainly someone must still build sand castles here? And what about that boy that stole my heart all those years ago? What was he now doing?
All of us should have somewhere we can return to in our minds–a happy place, as they call it. This was certainly one of mine. My siblings and I spent endless hours here each July and August. We were sunkissed and free. Nothing could harm us then–or so we thought. The world seemed so stunningly beautiful and life so easy-going. That is my memory now. I am not sure that is accurate. Our memories are coloured just like these chairs. Nonetheless it was a joy to stand again on those sands, shifted as they were, and remember a carefree time.