I forget how much I miss this place, the unique smell of your waters
and the way you shine
and flow and ripple in time
even when you are hidden deep below a layer of sharp stinging ice.
We walked the dock and you said, “that is the life!” as your head turned towards an elderly couple sitting in green lawn chairs, saran wrapped sandwiches balanced on worn laps and I remembered a different couple, brown hair wrapped carefully in curlers at night, cold cream smeared over the wrinkles carved out of the wind and sun. I tell you stories of your ancestors and how generations, myself included, were born by the lake our souls drifting about like white washed wood embedded in tiny granules of sand.
I tell you about floods and large pawed wolves howling across a sandy-covered jackpine-filled blueberry patch. I remind you of the time we wanted to go for a swim but landed ourselves face to face with the inquisitive eye of a brown bear cub as my heart filled with dread knowing momma bear was not far off and I shielded your body and carried you to safety. I tell you the stories told to me as I sat in a yellow warm kitchen of baked bread and melted butter, chocolate chip cookies and the biggest jar of magical buttons filled with colour and life.
I tell you how I took it all for granted and even as my heart wandered about free spirited, I focused on the discontent I felt, the burning desire to escape the suffocating small town noise that felt stifling to my growth. You let the water fly about in the sunshine as you shake your head and you tell me how much you love it here, how the city feels suffocating sometimes and I smile and nod as you talk about the wide open spaces of freedom.
And I feel the thought inside me with a prick of a teardrop. I want to return home even as I know that the home I want to return to is gone, evaporated into the cycle of death, returned to the earth, the sand and becoming a part of a different story carved out of a piece of driftwood. I romanticize waking up each morning face turned towards the wild wind of your lake shore, cheeks reddened, hands scrapped up against the splintered fishing pole of my appetite even while I know that the gossip of a word would wear me down.
I walk along the white sand beach, toes curling into too many memories clamoring for my attention and I let them continue to float on by as the spray of a wave catches me by surprise.
“slave lake” © Darlene J Kreutzer
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