Lake effect
Thursday April 07th 2011, 11:32 pm
Filed under: Family,Friends,Life,Wildlife

And today there were four healthy eyases eating up a storm. Clara the mother peregrine seemed to be methodically feeding mostly one, then mostly the second and on through till all were falling over sleepy. Then she scraped up the gravel to create a berm for extra warmth on one side, the weather having turned cold, scooted them carefully underneath her wings, and took a rest, too.

I had a conversation tonight with a friend whom I’ve known since junior high, who now lives in the town where we lived during our first job after grad school. She said something about taking her dog to go swim in the local lake.


A road I’d driven a thousand times was named after that lake, but I couldn’t remember an actual lake.

She thought I was pulling a junior high stunt on her. So I described my old route to pretty much anywhere from our house in New Hampshire.

Then I went to go do my treadmill time for the evening, and it hit me. I HAD turned left rather than right and driven the other direction on that road–once. I didn’t get very far.  I don’t think the whole thing was paved going that way, and what pavement there was was something you could only find in New England-type weather: there was a yellow sign early on warning “Frost heaves.”

This is back when we were just starting our family. I puzzled over how frost could have morning sickness.

And then I saw the huge boulder in the road. Not on the road–in the road, coming up out of the pavement right smack dab there in my way, bursting out from underneath, taller than the undercarriage of my car. It was at a blind spot where there was barely room for two cars to pass even if that thing hadn’t been there, and highly dangerous.

And so I always drove the long way around to get to the other end of town. I never saw the lake from that road.

Wait again–it came back to me. My friend Dottie Peyser had had that lake in her backyard, near the end of that long route around; her place was such a gorgeous spot of the earth. She ran a smocking guild once a week out of her home, and in those baby days I smocked then like I knit now; she was older than my folks and we were great friends. And what a view she and her husband Bill had out back!

I saw Dottie knitting once at our meeting and teased her about it and she said something to the effect of, well but she was a knitter too, and once you’re a knitter you never get over yarn. You always come back to it.

She was right, of course.

I wrote to them after we moved here, checking to see how they were doing. The post office returned it for insufficient address. I wrote on the envelope, by now already fairly marked up: Dear California postmaster. This is going to an old part of a small town, where *there are no street numbers* assigned. The mailman there knows everybody and their house by name and by sight. Please deliver.

They did.

Dottie passed away; Bill had a  heart attack and called me to tell me he’d survived it, and that she was gone. He wanted to know how his semi-adopted grandchildren (ours) were doing.

That was 24 years ago. And somewhere, I still have a picture of my oldest, at three, grinning hugely with their teacup poodle in her lap and her arms around it.

A chance mention by someone from junior high about her dog. It brought so many good memories back after I took a moment to reflect on the treadmill.

And it also got me thinking. I never knew that road went along the other side of the water.  How many things do I miss seeing? Even if I can’t do sun, even if it has to be close to sundown, I need to get out in nature all I can. Walk in the redwoods. Splash in the cold edge of the ocean. Make it so I never, ever forget a lake again.

5 Comments so far
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What a wonderful story. Isn’t it funny how some simple thing can bring back wonderful memories.

Comment by pat Flores 04.08.11 @ 4:06 am

Really beautiful post. Thank you.

Comment by India 04.08.11 @ 4:57 am

Wouldn’t you like to be able to say, “I may forget a shopping mall, but I never forget a lake.”

Comment by LauraN 04.08.11 @ 7:28 am

I’m really, REALLY enjoying my late afternoon walks with the dogs in the woods, even when Sissy gets excited and pulls HARD… I hope you’re able to reconnect with nature!

Comment by Channon 04.08.11 @ 8:16 am

What a beautiful recollection! It’s fascinating how memories can be jogged back into recognition.

Comment by Don Meyer 04.08.11 @ 8:45 am

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