Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Living on the Lake
This past weekend, we enjoyed Labor Day at a friend’s lake house in northeast Texas. I’ve been accused of not being an outdoorsy type, but for three days under a sky puffy with animal clouds, I swam, boated, tubed, jetskiid, sunned myself, watched others play volleyball (let’s not go crazy, after all), read on a porch swing, cheered great friends over wine on an evening cruise, devoured s’mores over a crackling fire, and screamed while bouncing through the woods on an ATV (outdoorsy okay, woodsy definitely not.)
Soaring across the water, my hands clutched to the tube's grips, I didn’t have time to think about writing, blogging, querying, or focusing on the piles of revision notes on my desk at home. Instead I saw smiling faces egging me on from the boat, smelled fresh lake and a hint of fuel exhaust, felt sprays of water and the rush of the breeze over my face. So afraid of spring boarding off the tube, it took gallons of nerve to pry my hand for a thumbs down signal. Slow down.
Afterward, as I floated on a giant water trampoline and the sun toasted me like the marshmallows we stuffed in our s’mores, I watched my son tubing and wanted to give the thumbs down to slow his life’s pace a bit. In two years, he’ll go away to college. He’ll start his own tubing adventure, fraught with bumps and fears, tugging him ever so quickly into his future. I’m excited to see in which direction he’ll go—writer, philosopher, artist, entrepreneur—but do not want to wish away his now. I got such joy from watching him and his friends tube, ride jet skis, take on the adults in a volleyball tournament, and play chess and Catch Phrase. Living is the now.
And just as in life, as I navigate the road to publication, I can’t forget, writing is the now. It’s spending time with my family and friends, each one a different character with charming qualities. It’s floating on the raft, weaving in whatever direction the story will take me, getting lost in the flow of the words, toasting the plot to golden perfection.
At day’s end, dusky light dappled the water with glittery silhouettes, little ghosts of all who’d enjoyed their time on the lake, of those who slowed down to enjoy the now.
Photos courtesy of my talented husband, Rick.