Life Topics

Winter’s End on the Lake

The Lake in Winter (photo credit Eric Vickery)


The rough texture of the sun-soaked ice is deep shades of gray and white with small mounds of snow scattered, showing weeks of thawing, and freezing.  The lake’s surface transforms by the day as the Spring approaches.  Sometimes there is open water, then two days later its ice again, dashing my hopes of warmth.  Bright baby-blue skies with a few dabs of clouds and majestic pines lining the solid shore creates a collage of brilliance.  Long shadows and the bright glare bouncing off the lake can trick you into thinking it’s warm, as you gaze out the window.  But the wind!  Oh, the wind does not lie.  It howls like a hungry wolf, hunting for its next prey.   The trees shake angrily, and the one chair sits on the deck holding its ground until Spring.

It’s the coming end of Winter that brings promise.  However, late one night, the weather people excitedly announce a coming storm, as my eyes and the season begin to fade.  Tomorrow will be like a rebirth of a frigid December day.  A rerun of a Winter’s day when you hoped for snow for the holidays.  This time of year the alarm is futile, as the soft falling puffs are half melted before reaching the ground.   If the snow sticks to the few spots of uncovered grass and mud,  it will be short lived.  In two days it may be warm.  For now though, I’ll just imagine myself sitting by the fireplace, that we don’t have, thinking of Summer boat rides.  Maybe I’ll start to make plans with friends who have been in seasonal hiding, barricaded in their homes.  Because, if you dare have intentions in the dead of Winter, you’re an optimistic fool.  I’ve learned, as a New Englander, to have a respectful fear of a volatile Mother Nature. Hopefully she is starting to calm now.  Her last attack will be a roaring March storm with whipping winds to warn you she does not give up easily.

The beauty of Winter is undeniable.  The lake transforms, blanketing the water with solid rock of cold intentions.  It begs your eyes and mind to daydream. However, the dreadfully short days and long dark nights start to deplete my sanity.  But, soon all the birds will come back to sing their songs.  I will sit in the warm sun on the deck, in the lone deck chair that survived, staring at the twinkling ripples on the lake.  It always seems strange to me that people marvel when the nice days come, they’ve been here before.  The Spring always comes.  She usually appears out of nowhere, as I pray the latest storm will usher away the Winter for good.

Life Topics

It’s 6 O’clock Somewhere

At 6 o’clock the summer sun filters everything around you, turning objects into versions of themselves that seem totally unreal.  Trees lining the water’s edge look like watercolors and the lake has soft ripples of tiny waves and muted colors with bright diamonds dancing on the surface.  It’s hard not to daydream as you wind down your day and become part of nature’s painting.  The angle of the sun brings shadows that appear to marry the landscape bringing depth and meaning to the story.  A simple and glorious prelude to a soft evening, as the lake prepares to sleep.

Unless you live on a lake, it’s hard to imagine the revelry of players that bring comfort to the soul.
The heron glides past you overhead to find a quiet cove, the ducks come in to play and walk along the shore, fish jump out of the water for a quick bug snack, and fisherman float by silently casting long lines of desire and hope. All this drama before you’ve had your morning coffee.  The early day has it’s own splendor that one should never take for granted.  I am especially fond of the graceful flight, yet homely look of the heron, as he descends into the shore where he’ll hunt his prey.  He is hungry and will wait patiently, awkwardly walking the shore for as long as it takes.  All these sights and sounds can be hypnotizing.

Like most people I am absent from my home during the day working and fulfilling commitments. I’m not home to see what mysteries the lake brings in the quiet activities of the warm afternoon unless it is on the weekend.  Truthfully, I don’t think about it much until I return to put my day to rest.  I wipe the slate clean, forgetting about things that don’t matter in the long run.  Arriving home, I pour a glass of wine and settle into my comfortable chair and just stare across the pristine lake anticipating something I haven’t seen.  My partner joins me as we talk about our day, half watching the lake and each other.  It approaches 6 o’clock when everything transforms.

Pontoon boats gently float by, maybe hungry boaters on their way in to have dinner.  Or, boats embark on a slow and deliberate sunset cruise after an early dinner.  The backdrop of the trees and beaming late day sunshine bring a magic to the lake.  Time seems so fluid set between late afternoon and early dusk. You can hardly notice it happening, but it’s there.  And it effects your inner clock.  There is a change from day to dusk.  A crescendo that draws a line between day and evening.  All stress is lifted.  All concerns are forgotten. You’re on lake time after all.  An invisible curtain is lowered to separate what might be routine, to what is exceptional .  All the harsh lines are softened.

We mount the boat after dinner, with a cooler and set out to watch the sun set.  We listen to music and laugh.  Oh, how he makes me laugh!   Hopefully, we’ll tie up with another boat or two to socialize, but we’re happy on our own too.  We look at the clouds bringing red and pink spheres across the sky, knowing tomorrow will also be beautiful. Red sky at night……We know we live in paradise.  There are a scattering of anchored boats around us capturing moments, taking pictures of the sunset.  It is always beautiful no matter how many times you’ve seen it.

Our love for the lake goes beyond words.  We enjoy every part of it, especially when the lake prepares for night. The afternoon sky and night sky come together without contempt, knowing their place, knowing their time.  There is a shift to be admired as nature fulfills it’s promise.  It provides a place to jump off from, a place to start, and a place to end.   This body of water is now part of our DNA.  We couldn’t live anywhere else.  Being invited to witness her change, has changed us.  We are forever grateful for being part of a place that brings us joy every day.


Life Topics

Night Swim on Hickory Hills

dockLargeTake a swim in the night waters of the lake.
Feel the flow underneath you, as you
kick your legs and circle your arms.
Treading water makes you feel
like all the days worries are
pushed away with each motion.

Breathe deep, as you look up
to see the stars that watch over you.
Crickets sing a concert for your pleasure.
Slivers of moonlight dance on the waves.

Hear your laugh echo to the hidden shoreline,
The sound makes you laugh again, just to
hear your voice.  The boat is barely within
reach, but it doesn’t matter.

Talk treason with your friend as you
circle each other and feel the relief
from the thick air.
Submerge your whole body.
Wet your hair, wet your soul.

Howl at the moon calling on Mother Nature
to join in the fun.  She knows you are there
to be part of the universe.
She knows you are there.

Life Topics

The Lake


A house alive come summer
breezes.  The lake becomes a
gathering place for song and

Nurture what you have internal,
it lays waiting in the winter.  The
buds will bring out what’s forgotten.
Splashing and laughter paint
the sky.

Make warm memories, and be sure
to remember.
Time can look through the window
with narrow eyes and only a spark of light.
Dilute the unforgiven, and breathe in
deep comfort.

Water waves slowly,  planning  your daydreams.
Move in harmony with the clouds.   Look at
the dog chasing the ball.  Paddle strong and
hold on tight, diversions await you.

Shake when you get out of the water.

Life Topics

Dark Waves

dockLargeWater anchors my dreams.
Memories bob upon rippled
whispers and the thirst of
the moonlight.  I can hear
my name.

Bullfrogs inspire cricket songs.
The lightning tells my story.
Soft rumbles from angels
above, warning the lake of
the coming downpour.

Dark waves lapping are
a burden to the shore.
Step into the warm water with
dew drenched feet and
wipe the tears you
do not have.

Let the striking rain tell you
secrets in your sleep.  Wishing
on stars is not a promise.
Hold onto the thread that
weaves shadows and light.

Life Topics



I check Facebook with the sound of hammering in the background.  Jamie is in the yard removing the legs to the dock.  He needs to put new legs on for the summer season, these are too short.  I just finished raking about a half hour ago.  I’ve had enough for one day.   I used to be “outdoorsy” but prefer the company of my computer as the tapping keyboard lulls me away.  It’s time for the spring cleanup and my mind is still frozen in the Winter.

I do prefer the Spring to Winter, but this time of year is a waiting game.  The dredges of the last season are scattered on our lawn.  Leaves, branches and twigs remind us of the toll our trees payed over the cold biting Winter.  Acorns crunch as I walk across the lawn, soon to be mulched by the lawnmower.  Should I think about buying flowers?  Not yet, I decide, as the temperatures are still too turbulent.  The Sun is beginning to be our ally again though, melting the Spring snow quickly and giving us some warmth as we do our chores.    I cringe when I look at the empty flower pots, thinking about the work to come.  But,  the thought of lazy summer days and the beauty of the blossoms melts my heart.

We wait for our boat to show up from the boat yard, so we continue to spend our free time picking up and unpacking.  No snow in the forecast this week.  I still don’t feel like there’s any progress, as I look at the calm lake. The lawn looks better, but the dock still sits above the shoreline waiting to be put in the water.   Temperatures will be cold tonight.  The boat will be here in two weeks, but it feels like an eternity.

I type with my feet wrapped in layers of warmth, just thinking about shorts and flip flops – and no more cleanup.  The stripped down ease of the Summer engages my mind to wander.  Why does this transition to Spring bother me so much?  I don’t mind the work; it’s just the anticipation of Summer that gets me out of sorts.  Transitions are neither here nor there.  They are usually a placeholder for better or worse things to come.

I know that this Summer will be fantastic entertaining our friends and family.  Until we put away the boat, and start raking leaves in the crisp Autumn air, waiting for Winter to come.