I'm getting ready for bed, up at the lake. In the new house, the one that Dad says I should no longer call the cabin, a door opens from my bedroom out to the lakeside patio. Music is floating across the water, from the bar a few miles away where I used to waitress during the summers of the college years. Bottle rockets are being launched from near our neighbors' waning bonfire. A little part of me wants to be at the bar; there is a good chance of bumping into an aunt or uncle, cousin or friend.
The bar is located in an area of the lake called Shoreham. It is a tiny hamlet full of rowdy ways and colorful characters. Full of loyalty and friendship, and probably a little bit of heartache and betrayal. But I'm not feeling as social tonight, I want to stay near the water and wake up sober and rested. I need to have my wits about me for the flea market tomorrow; I'm twitchy anticipating the treasures I will snatch up. The reality is that I'm trying to absorb as much of this place as I can before Monday, and it's impossible to deny that buying little bits and pieces makes me feel like I can pack it all up in my suitcase in order to bring it across the border with me. The shopping urge is strong these last few days; surely a response to my imminent departure and my flailing attempt to capture the essence of the place by gathering the right combination of souvenirs.
At the flea market tomorrow morning, I will see more people I know. I will see some of the people who are at the bar right now, and I will see others who may already be asleep all around the lake now, under old soft blankets and quilts, listening to the same crickets and loons and slightly too-loud music.
My parents met in the middle of this lake, on a night probably very similar to this one, 43 years ago. My brother-in-law proposed to my sister here, and my husband also proposed to me here. It is a magical, special place, and enormously difficult to put out of my mind when not enough time is spent here.