My grandmother’s house is tall and dark, but her presence it warm and welcoming, like the smell of freshly baked cookies. She leaves the garage open in anticipation of our visit. “Yoo hoo!” we yodel through the house to tell of our arrival. “Yoo hoo!” echoes my grandmother, like a bird replying to its own kind.
I want to run to the dock, but instead I gingerly hop across the goose poop sprinkled lawn.
The sun beams down at me and my sisters with a warm smile as we press our bare feet against the burning dock. The trees offer patches of shade where some geese snack on the sweet grass. I drop my bag, take off my shirt and shorts, and tip-toe to the edge of the dock to test the temperature of the water. It’s just right, like the first star on a clear night, like rain pattering on a metal roof, like the crackling of a glowing bonfire, like the soft silence of the first snowfall, like gentle waves lapping on the shoreline.
I sit letting ripples from an excited fish tickle my toes, and I study the water striders as they glide across the lake, like ice skaters on ice. Milfoil touches the surface where the water is shallow and where small fish dart through the submerged jungle. Across the lake, the blue heron stands majestically on one leg as still as a statue. The eagle rests in the tall trees watching for a vulnerable fish. The turtles cover the logs bathing in the glad sunlight.
The smells of grimy dirt and lake water and goose poop and fresh grass and wet dog fill my nose, but these smells are not contaminating; they are comforting and familiar.
The water is murky and mysterious, but also glassy and calling. It mirrors the blue sky, which is dotted with cotton white clouds. Whenever an occasional boat or a jet ski rockets past, the dock bobs up and down like the comforting motion of a rocking chair.
Suddenly, my dad speeds around the corner on the Sea-Doo, and we all scream with delight as he circles around, spraying us. I grab my life jacket and leap. Once my feet leave the dock, my destiny is sure. The water envelopes my body. I burst through surface taking in air. I pull myself onto the tube and grip the handles firmly. I am ready.