The Lake

Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Lizzie who lived with her family in a house by a glacial lake surrounded by low mountains. She liked to think that the cold water she swam in had been kept pristine in a glacier until it was released into this rocky depression which became her lake. She thought of it like amber liquefied. She wondered if that explained the loch Ness monster. A prehistoric being trapped in a glacier by a snap frost, having travelled across time and space only to be released in her neighborhood. It was time travelling before time travel was invented, sci-fi made real. Her mom always told her to stop daydreaming, which was odd because that is what she did best.

She grew up, as people do, moved away and married. She kept her lake alive in her heart, in her thoughts, and in her nighttime dreams. He was a close friend, the kind you lose and reconnect with seamlessly. Years later, when she saw him again, he seemed much smaller. The neighborhood had changed tremendously. Behind the hills peaked a microwave tower. Houses on the small lake had multiplied, with floating decks and noise. Animals made themselves scarce. She was kayaking on the lake, when she saw an athletic woman swimming across it and back without breaking a sweat. She was in her path, smiling, ready to be all neighbourly. The woman swam past her, through her it seemed, as though she were an ancient being, floating in an iceberg way above her, looking down, all but invisible. She thought of herself as a mime, encased in his invisible glass box from which he cannot escape.

She felt the weight of her years then, remembering how big an adventure crossing the lake used to be, tucked inside her inner tube, palm and mask securely fastened. She would explore the shallow end where the beavers lived in harmony with the mallards. She loved looking at the lake from a duck’s eye view, low on the water, where the spiders glided. They would get gobbled up by hungry fish lurking just below the surface, their kin tickling her legs as she splashed about, at one with the water and its inhabitants.

She couldn’t figure out the lake’s mood. Was it content with today’s hustle and bustle? Was it too much to handle in his old age or did the people breathe new age into him? Was he being smothered by their needs and wants? He still had the night skies, the moon and the stars, his loyal companions. She longed for a long chat with her friend, and plunged deep, eyes wide open. The sun rays streamed in, illuminating specks of dirt dancing below the surface. The lake was happy to embrace her again, feeling her laughter bubbling up, tickling him as before. She went deeper still, where cold currents spoke of his ancient history and warm currents of now, the variety speaking of life.

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