In the middle of the lake, I experienced a Michigan summer.
On a recent visit to Michigan, the land of my birth and childhood, I jumped at the chance to try out one of my dad’s new kayaks. On a small, quiet, lake tucked away in the back of one of the state parks, my dad took my girls out in the canoe, while my husband and I climbed into the kayaks. They all quickly took off towards the other side of the lake. While I, on the other hand, went at a much slower pace.
Splissshhh, splissshhh, splissshhh, splissshhh, the oars quietly and without urgency, hit the water. The sun hung just above the treetops, faithfully setting and bringing this day to an end. There in the middle of the lake, I stopped. I breathed in that crisp Michigan air and felt a contented sigh release in response.
The lake held a beauty that captivated me. The stillness of the moment invited me to stay. I had forgotten how clear Michigan waters were. I could see several yards down into the water, to where the bright green plants reached for the sunlight. Occasionally, a small bluegill would swim by and disappear under the kayak. I reached my hand down and touched the water – cold, refreshing, if it had been earlier in the day, it would have been perfect for a swim.
I decided to paddle over near the edge of the lake, where I ran into a sea of lily pads. The brilliance of their greenness caught my attention and I enjoyed the simple beauty of their white flowers floating there in the water. The trees along the edge held a warm glow of the setting sun.
As I turned around and looked across the lake, I could see the silhouettes of some kids jumping off a dock. I heard my own daughters scream as grandpa ran them into some cattails. I noticed my husband off exploring the lake at his own pace. I set off in their direction.
Heading that way, I noticed several small birds ascending on the lake, swooping down, grabbing the water bugs off the surface of the water. Too numerous to count, I couldn’t follow one if I tried.
Closing my eyes, and paddling forward, I could feel the air cooling off as it brushed my face. Somewhere in the distance I heard birds calling to one another from the treetops. Breathing in, I smelled purity, that fragrance of nature that could never be captured in a bottle.
With eyes wide open again, I began to notice the water reflecting the glow of the setting sun. Blues, oranges and pinks floated on the water’s surface. If I looked further out, I could see the reflection of the few puffy white clouds that were part of the picturesque sky above.
The dragonflies fluttered about, landing on the edge of my kayak. I whispered to them secret messages to deliver to my husband. Who in return, upon receiving their messages, would whisper messages for them to fly back to me.
I sat there, in awe at the beauty surrounding me, committing it all to memory, begging for it to remain a part of my soul even after I must leave.
I finally caught up with the rest of them, enjoying the girl’s stories, especially that of grandpa running them into the cattails. The sun now set, we made our way back to dock. My heart was full, knowing that out in the middle of the lake, I had somehow captured a Michigan summer deep within.