By Joan Larsen
I believe down deep we are all alike. Deep inside us, unbidden thoughts take over our quiet moments in the early darkness of winter. The two of us find ourselves talking – the kind of conversation that usually comes late in the evening when the lights are low. It is then we reminisce about past delights . . . and then begin that talk about our own private thoughts and –yes – dreams of journeys we might enjoy in the coming year.
Time and again for summer time travel, it was last year’s memories of the beautiful Lake House that had enchanted us, filled us with laughter, and – best of all – left us with a year’s worth of tender moments of our own. We talked of the many trails we hadn’t taken, unique little low-lighted restaurants not that far a drive, more canoeing that we had loved in the twilight hours especially when there was not a ripple on the water. More. There were more pleasurable moments still to be had – more memories that would last a lifetime.
There is no doubt that we were totally enamored by the Lake House and its environs. And so this summer, we have only now returned home from the Lake House — rested, smiling, renewed, and glancing at each other with that secret smile.
And so I suggest that you consider your own private getaway in a time coming up, your own Lake House that is meant to be shared by only two if possible . . . a bit off the beaten path where you too will find that you will bring back beautiful memories that will last a lifetime. For us, the Lake House was found again to be a little bit of heaven. I think you may also find it to be so.
We each have our own dreams, our own feelings on the perfect place for the change of scene so long overdue. The really old days of summer were different – cool, lazy, driving on hidden byways, finding our own private corner at a beach so tantalizing that we wanted to stake it out forever. I happen to remember evenings away when going to town for double dip ice cream cones seemed to come with the sound of family laughter – and the togetherness was the perfect end of the day.
Life turned slowly at first, didn’t it? The winding country roads, the little shops and art galleries seemed almost ours alone, always visited. Small treasures never seen in the big cities became ours – personal mementos that we would hold in the palm of our hand, always bringing back memories of our “summer vacation”. Brown as berries when we returned, we knew another year would beckon us to return.
I recall it always being idyllic.
Those summers of memory are no more. Four-lane highways don’t allow drifting along. The beautiful beaches? Well, they are still there but often we lay down our beach towels – or other signs of exclusivity – in rows.
Enjoying nature is often spent in almost lock-step on what had been trails that we had spent hours on, turning falling logs over, looking for mushrooms, suddenly starting as deer stood silently on the path, wondering who these people were that had come into their home grounds.
Yes, if we get far off course, there are still the hidden places. It takes some doing, doesn’t it? When we find an idyllic scene, we want to stake it out – make it our own. I actually have a few – a small few – and my lips are sealed on where they are.
What is it that most of us crave? My own guess would be that we need a time for us, a time to re-group, totally relax with no schedules. I wonder if I am being too selfish when I say: I need time for me. Certainly there have to be others who feel exactly the same way.
I have found the answer. Hidden in a well-camouflaged setting where nature remains king in summer, welcome to my lake house. It breathes solitude, doesn’t it? There is a canoe, trails go out in every direction into the woods and low mountains, and the furnishings just call out “comfort” and “pleasure”. The lake? The first dip gives a cool shock, but I find myself revitalized in minutes.
I am putting the idea out as food for thought in summer – a break from the enormous cruise ships, long lines, crowds, and driving forever on expressways. Our world weather is changing, seemingly from warm to very hot. Calling it “unpleasant” doesn’t quite do it. It took me decades to look toward the north – unpopulated, beautiful, and making me feel like a new woman – ready and able to work and write on my return.
I am back from the lake house (rented, of course) revitalized, smiling, ready for what surprises lie in store. Long-distance vacations will wait until the off-season.
I love to share all that I consider “treasures”. . . the ideas that so often can turn your own thinking around, making you too believe that perhaps you can find – in your own summer weeks off – the same joy that I have found.
I hope you can.
Where we love is home – home that our feet
may leave, but not our hearts.
– Oliver Wendell Holmes
Writer Joan Larsen has spent a lifetime searching for the most remote places on Earth. But it is the polar regions of our world that she has been drawn back to again and again. She has done research in these lands of ice, and considers Antarctica to be her “other home.”