06.05.15 The lake level is about as high as it’s going to get this year and Mermaid Rock is now its own island. Duncan and Anna, maybe seven or eight years ago, declared this rock to be Mermaid’s Rock. They would wade out to it from the shore and sit on it together, eyes cast out to sea in their own private reverie. This was during the time the Disney movie, The Little Mermaid, was popular. And, it was when my daughter found Duncan awake, very early on their first morning at the lake house, sitting alone on the window seat in the dormitory room, and he told her he had seen dolphins and whales out in the water.
The following year, when cousin, Norah, came with her family from California to join in the reunion week, I was prepared. When they awakened in the morning and Duncan rushed to show Norah the Mermaid’s Rock, they found gifts from the mermaid, lying on top. There were two bracelets with multi-colored beads and one glittery necklace. On their last night, they each wrote thank you notes to the mermaid for their jewels, and placed the letters on the big rock, secured by stones at each corner so they would not blow away. The notes were gone that final morning as they all left the lake to return to their homes, faraway.
Over the years, there has been more magic. They’ve made fairy houses in the woods, at the base of hollow trees, and as is de rigueur for fairy houses, only gifts from nature can adorn these miniature habitats. They’ve returned to tramp through the woods and discover a ruby berry has been left on a door step, or a crimson leaf has secured a leaking roof. Just last year, on Christmas Eve, the California threesome discovered one of Santa’s reindeer’s jingle bells lying on the snow. The adults are still talking about how Cormac, seeing the bell was made of silver and gold, thought we should list it on eBay instead of leaving it with Santa’s cookies and milk, as Norah suggested.
When we were in Berkeley last week, preparing for a dinner party with good friends, Norah was excited to dress in “party clothes”. An early preteen, she wears the same shoe size as her mother, and my daughter said she could wear Mom’s little black “kitten” heels. There was a flowing black cardigan to cover her silky blouse and floral skirt. And, as a final flourish to her ensemble, she dug into her jewelry box and brought out a sparkly necklace.
“Do you remember, this, Grandma? The mermaid left this for me on Mermaid’s Rock one year! Duncan and Anna got those bracelets with colorful beads and crystals, but they broke. I’ll bet you could find them, though, if you look through the woods by the water.” ”
Wow, Norah…I’d forgotten all about that. I’ll look for the colored beads from the broken bracelets when I get home, before all the growing leaves cover them up. I’m so glad you’re still enjoying your necklace.”
Looking at Mermaid’s Rock in the early evening light last night, I loved thinking of how Norah remembers the magic that summer. It makes all summers, in this grandmother’s life, magical–a little gift at just the right time in one’s life, me thinks.