Monday, July 9, 2012

Summertime, Lakes, and Childhood

I just read this essay:

E.B. White's  "Once More to the Lake",

and it reminded me poignantly, painfully of a piece of my childhood that was spent outside and in woods and on a soft, mossy lake, too.  Oh, man, how I romanticize those times at the lake and how they seem like such a fundamental part of my growing up.  I can recall so vividly the squish of my feet into soft, unusually warm mush, walking into the water up to my knees and hips and pits and then falling forward under the comfortable, private murk.  And I will never, for the rest of my life, ever be rid of the sound of harmonizing locusts ringing in my ears.  

I love how he blends his memories with his son's experience there, and I see how parents' and children's identities overlap in funny little ways, in ways parents sometimes cherish and paddle towards and children sometimes deny and paddle against... to use the parlance of an essay about lakes.  And I have to think about Bradly and who she is and how much or how little I will steer her.  

"Summertime, oh summertime, pattern of life indelible, the fade proof lake, the woods unshatterable, the pasture with the sweet fern and the juniper forever and ever, summer without end..."  What a picture of the cycle of generations and what I want for Bradly in the perfect, permanent, safe harbor of her childhood.  

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