Monday, August 25, 2014


My daughter is 25 and lives about 3 hours away from here. She comes to visit often, because we are best pals, and it is always a treat to have her home. One of the things we love to do best is go swimming together at a small pond just a few miles from our house. We have not had time to do that all summer so far.

We first discovered the place just a week or two after moving in 11 years ago. A neighbor girl about my daughters age told us about it one hot summers day, and we fell in love, hard. To get there we take a right out of our driveway, drive through our tiny town center (town hall, volunteer fire department, library. That's it!) up a lovely narrow, winding road. Then take a right on a dirt road so rural that is closed all winter, and park in a small depression between some woods and a blueberry barren. Walk down over huge granite boulders, then along a pebble trail, past a puddle where we can usually find a speckled frog (or two.) Take a left where the blackberries grow with reckless abandon, down a dirt trail and then, there it is. Glittering in the sun, and silent, a sweet little spring fed pond. It was once an ice pond, (a place where locals harvested ice to keep their food cold in their ice boxes .)

Sometimes when we go there are no people at all. But usually there are 2-6 other souls enjoying the peace and cool water. Today there were four people there when we arrived, just two and a small dog when we finished. The water was clear and sparkling, and as we swam we encountered areas were the springs are bubbling below, and the water there is cold and feels so nice on a summer day.

We giggled and splashed and swam. We found the huge granite boulder we like to stand on and play "king of the hill." The sun shone down and the wavelets glistened. Crickets sang their late summer song on the shore and frogs chimed in from the marshy edges. Otherwise there was blissful silence.

My daughter asked, "Remember when we came in the rain?" I did.

It was an unusually hot summer day several years ago, when my daughter was a teenager. Company was coming and I had asked her to help me clean the house to get ready. All day she had whined and teased and whined some more, wanting to go for a dip. I had promised her that when our chores were done we would swim as a reward. When the house was shining I said, "Ok, suit up," and we did, but by the time we got to the truck, dark storm clouds were rolling in from the west. As I pulled out of the driveway a few fat raindrops plopped on my dusty windshield. "We don't HAVE to go," my daughter said, dejected, as she slumped in the seat. "OH NO!" I replied. "WE are GOING!" We had both had that swim in our minds all day, a delicious carrot dangled before us as we worked. The rain pattered down as I drove the few, scant miles, and the parking spot was empty when we pulled in. We ran down the path, each droplet of rain fairly sizzling on our hot skin as we went. At the waters edge we shucked off our shoes, stashed our towels under a dense bush and dove off the granite shore into the water. It was cool, and silent. Our heads popped back up and we became still, mesmerized to see the rain drops as they met and married the still pond water right at eye level. Each droplet hit the surface and danced back up, before falling again to meld seamlessly with the chill body of the little pond. We were utterly alone, with a dome of thick clouds overhead, and submerged to our jaw lines in the rippling embrace of our favorite place. We floated in silence, mesmerized by the music and sight of rain on water.

And the memory lingers. A reminder of the importance of taking time to make such moments happen. "Remember?" It can be the sweetest of words.

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