She sat on the shore, watching the waves lap at the stones as the pleasure boats toured the area with some pulling tubes and others dragging wake boarders. The lake ebbed and flowed to reflect the activity of the wind and the boats in this wonderful play land. Regardless of the size of the waves, it was peaceful, just as it had always been.
She heard the squeals of the young children discovering the lake for the very first time. The sounds carrying far beyond the water were sounds of sibling bickering, competition, fun, and laughing all masking the love hidden beneath. As the sound drifted to the cottage above, warnings that the family won't be welcomed back. That was never the case.
She tread water, awaiting the balls that would be batted long and hard into the lake. They would race to find the ball that had been launched with the power best mustered from the baseball bat of a nine year old. One of them swam out to fetch the ball to swim it back to shore before they set up to receive the next one. And the one after that. And the next - for hours at a time. There is no clock visible from the lake.
She watched as they floated face down in the water, barely moving. An occasional ripple or the sporadic flipper splashing behind them. The only thing visible was the bubble butts filled with air and the snorkel tubes, slowly floating. Two 12 year old boys, best friends, circling and circling with the fishes. No words spoken, no words needed.
She saw clearly the reading of books in the aged teak Adirondack chairs, the skipped rocks, and floating for endless periods of time on inner tubes. It was all right there in front of her.
But it wasn't.
She sat alone for the moment. The lake was quiet with just a few boats off in the distance. Even the lake was different this year because of the COVID pandemic. More quiet than normal. Those who had come to the lake were quietly relaxing in the peace of the lake as was she. The sights of the lake past were oh so clear even though they had happened over a twenty-five year span. Sitting quietly now, just the adults, the sights and sounds of all of those years were as clear as when they actually happened. The family grew up on this lake, summer after summer. For this year, it seems that we can easily see where we have been as we find it difficult to envision where we will be, even next year at this time. This vision of the past is clear. This is where the family grew up - year after year. This annual retreat helped shaped us all, and hopefully, will continue to shape us as we grow with the next generation.
She is sitting on the shore, for now, listening to the peaceful sound of the waves hitting the break-wall marveling in the lessons of the past while awaiting the memories to be created by the future and the lake.