Buckskin Lake revisited

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

I jumped in minutes after arriving at the cottage we've rented for the last two years, leaving everything packed, except my bathing suit, gin for a pair of docktails and some chips.

We were going to leave for the cottage after lunch, to coordinate with the toddler's nap, but my fella and I were up long before the kids (going to the cottage morning is apparently our Christmas morning) so we headed out the moment we could get everything stuffed into our wee car.

The lake was darker than I remember it. And colder this summer than last.

I immediately started swimming across the lake, leaving my family waving on the dock. But three quarters of the way there, I suddenly didn't know the lake and the dark water was made even darker by the tint of my new goggles. I turned around, treading water and clearing my goggles. But there was something in seeing my little family from across the lake that unsettled me.

Last year, I swam the "L" at least daily – across the lake, and the along the far shoreline until the red buoy – but this year, the "L" felt too far. The lake was empty except for the four of us (and one of them depending solely on me for survival) and somehow having a baby, not just a toddler on the dock. The what-if-something-happened thoughts started looming.

That's not to say I didn't swim – I did, just on our side of the lake – an "I" instead of an "L".

There was one beautiful post-dinner swim, where the sun burned the top of the water, and my legs kicked hard against the cold, an early morning swim before the wind had woken up when the water carried an exact replica of the sky, and another perfect mid-day swim where both kids slept and my post-swim snack was s'mores and beer.

There were molars and growth spurts and fevers and rainy days – not exactly the most relaxing vacation, but there was that lake, and a stack of books and docktails no matter what the weather.

Still, I was surprised at how hard it was to say goodbye to the lake I just started getting to know, knowing I might not ever see it again.

Farewell, Buckskin Lake.

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