The mental and physical preparation that took place involved a hefty amount of "recovery time will provide the opportunity to do all sorts of things I never get to" kind of thinking. There were many things that would be great to do as I was "just sitting around." Chief among them? This journal, of course. Surgery was three and a half weeks ago and here I am, making myself write. It turns out that recovery really does take effort of the emotional, mental, and physical types. I haven't just been sitting around with all sorts of time on my hands. More importantly - you need inspiration to write - and for me, inspiration does not come in the form of pain, diminished independence, and virtual confinement to your family room. So, I thought it best to start with one of the old stories not yet told. While reviewing inventory, I was reminded that I tend to be a whiny-baby when confronted with life experiences altering my lifestyle. In thinking about past experiences, I realized that I had, indeed, witnessed a lot of beauty and joy - sitting here in recovery mode. These somewhat connected examples of some of the many things that are right with my life all presented in the last week. So we will save old stories for another time and instead, celebrate October 2019.
The last entry I published here was about the best day ever as seen through the eyes of a five year old. His proclamation came when he was preparing for a day of fun, with no responsibilities, on "the lake." "The lake" for us is Keuka Lake in the Finger Lakes of New York state. Keuka has been part of my life since I was 20ish and for me, Keuka will always live in my heart. My actual time on Keuka comes in brief trips and vacation mainly in the summer months, although we now schedule day trips to experience the other seasons on Lady Keuka. My dream of being a year-round lake inhabitant may never come to pass, but my heart melts, nerves calm, and breathing is deeper when even thinking about Keuka.
Keuka and the surrounding communities have been one of the best-kept secrets in the US. It is always a double-edged sword when a writer for a travel column highlights Keuka life in a national publication. I delighted in a "Coolest Small Town in America" ranking for Hammondsport, NY a couple of years ago, while silently screaming "no, no, no" in my head. It is not uncommon for lake dwellers to be in love with Keuka with no desire to share with others. The draw is physical and emotional , which is part of this entry.
In my times when a trip to Keuka is not a possibility, I experience Keuka through a Facebook page, literally titled "I Heart Keuka Lake." There, people share their Keuka heaven through their own lenses. Many of these folks live on the lake year-round and are generous in sharing the many faces of the lake. With the change of seasons this week, it seemed as if the pictures posted each day were of different lakes. But the beauty shared was always from Keuka and you know that as beautiful as each picture is - the reality of each shot was surely more breath-taking.
These are images from one week at the place where one little boy articulated his joy this summer. The beauty and serenity experienced by the lucky few Keuka lovers continued to add to the beauty and joy in my life, even if I was observing from afar this week. Each image elicits a response similar to experiencing the lake - a deep breath, peace, and the warmth of lake memories enriching my life for the past forty plus years. I ♡ Keuka Lake.
Let's also stay with the five year old as further reminders of joy in life. This "little" mind has an insatiable thirst for information and understanding. He loves watching our traffic and fire incident app to determine why he might hear sirens. In this review, he must fully understand the map. Yesterday, he asked about Lake Ontario. Why so large? Great lakes? And finally, is this "our" lake? So, we pull up a map of the Finger Lakes, explain how our lake is distinguishable by its Y shape. We reviewed points of interest around the lake, and finally he asked me to show him where our cottage is located. Later last night, more questions about the great lakes and the finger lakes.
In his effort to fully understand just about everything, he asked to see my scar on my knee. No wide-eyed response, but rather a studied approach to questions. So they cut there, lay open the leg, take out old knee, give you metal knee and staple you? His interest was met with one cursory glance from his seven year old sister who merely said, "Uh, yeah." I'm with her.
One other conversation that made me laugh was with the second grader who declared when she is in fourth grade she will have her choice to either be safety patrol or a kindergarten helper at school. There was absolutely no doubt, the only job for her is kindergarten helper. I asked why not safety patrol? Her answer? "Why would I want to stand around and say 'walk' all day?" My next question - is kindergarten helper a better job? "Yes, because that makes a difference." Maybe she's ready now.
This is a very long-winded way to say - appreciate the important stuff around you everyday. Appreciate the beauty and simple joys even if you are not currently enjoying your optimal life. Beauty and joy is all-around us. Message to myself - stop being the whiny baby, enjoy the simple stuff because that is the stuff that matters. Thank you Jack, Keuka, and Emma!
Picture credits to members of FB page, I Heart Keuka Lake.