Right on cue, a big high pressure ridge formed over the Valley, and summer has exploded across the land. Temperatures are forecasted to be in the 80’s–forever. The Californians arrived in time for the Fourth of July parade and late, late, late fireworks around and over the lake. There’s been swimming, motor-boating, sailing, kayaking, paddle boarding, biking, World Cup, baseball and Tour de France TV watching. We went to the rodeo. Cormac created the ping-pong tournament bracket, and round one has been completed, while Uncle Kevin and his dog have been staying with us. Tomorrow, the Billings family of five, and dog, Roscoe, arrive. WHEW! The grandparents need to start recusing themselves to bed much earlier, and fit in an afternoon nap.
On one of our mornings, from her google.docs account, Norah showed me an essay assignment she did at the end of the school year, in which she talks about being here at the lake. A sensitive and beautiful writer, here are some of the phrases which melted my heart:
“This driveway is legendary in my mind, a winding mile of memories…this driveway is shooting down at top speed in a sled in the snow…this driveway is building fairy houses with my cousins in the woods surrounding it, year after year, even after we stopped believing in the magic we hoped to house.”
“The dormitory has a very happy feeling, not because I really do anything exciting in here, but because every night that I fall asleep in that room, I am falling asleep in the happiest location possible, and another day guaranteed to be filled with all things wonderful…”
“With the swirls of beautiful blue and greens it is not hard to think that there are mermaids swimming around on the floor underneath the cool, refreshing water. And, so, years ago, my cousins and I named a rock jutting up from the shallows, close to the shore, ‘Mermaid Rock’. Whenever we were there together, we would leave notes for the mermaids. In the morning, we would find a gift from them, a necklace or a bracelet. Even though the magic has for the most part left our minds as we’ve grown up, I’ll still sit on the rock sometimes with waves crashing around me and remember the mermaids who have moved out of our imaginations.”
Crawling into bed at night, after these long and full days, it’s good for me to be mindful that we are making memories here, coded with the smells and sounds of summer, which can warm the coldest dark days, in winters to come.
We now know that memories are not fixed or frozen, like Proust’s jars of preserves in a larder, but are transformed, disassembled, reassembled, and recategorized with every act of recollection. -Oliver Sacks