Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Bliss on the Lake

 I would like to live on or in water.

Water around me, supporting me, comforting me, rocking me to sleep.

I wonder why that is.

I went up to the lake this afternoon.  Summer is on the wane and I feel it like a desperation in my bones.

Don't go, summer.  Please.

So I ran up, with my raft, and the sun in and out of the clouds, rolling clouds like distant threats, off towards the mountains, billowing out from the horizon white and thick.

I blew up my raft and launched out onto the water. Immediately, I was in my comfort zone, my home, the water.  A big smile rippled through me.

I rowed and played with my rowing and got out on the rocks at my favorite spot and swam even though I could see the algae hanging into the depths like green tapioca pudding not quite mixed, freckling the water.  This gave me pause.

There are some cliffs around the second arm, higher on one side than the other, in the 5 mph zone.  The young people line up to garner the courage to jump from the rock cliff on the higher side, in early and mid summer especially.  I once jumped from those rocks.

I was up swimming on a break from trapping, sun a searing hot ball in the sky.  The water felt good.  But up above me, on the cliff, some young people taunted me.  Them being young and me being older with marginal swim wear and not such a good figure.

I was in a mood that day and this was not a day to be mocked.  I immediately swam to the rocks beneath the cliff jump off site, climbed the tenuous steep trail to the line of young people and pushed to the front of the line.  Most of them would wait twenty or thirty minutes trying to come with the courage to jump or walk off, never jumping.

"You're not going to jump, are you?" one young man implored.

"Well, I didn't come up here to admire the scenery," I said, and moved to the edge, looked down, and jumped.

It was a long way down.  The force knocked my sandals from my feet.  I LOVED the thrill of it.

I briefly then became addicted to cliff jumping and bridge jumping into water, the higher the better.  This horrified the young people, who think daredevilism is their domain alone.  Sorry kids.  Taint so.

On the opposite side of that arm are the low rocks.  The advantage of jumping off low rocks is that you can do it over and over again.  The low rocks have two jump off points, one lower than the other by about six feet.  The higher jump off rock is 14 to 16 feet from the water, height greatly dependent on water levels.  It is great fun.  The jagged rocks along that shore stretch out bench like just under the surface in places, making for a perfect spot to sit, slightly submerged against the cliff.  I love this place.

After rowing around two arms and down that one, this is where I sat, slightly submerged, feet propped up on my raft, and ate a late lunch.  I pushed the raft out then and jumped in after it.  I towed it across the arm, swimming, a rope around my wrist that was tied to the front of the raft.  I got back in on the other side and saw a boat with its motor smoking out a hundred feet.  I yelled at them "Do you need help?"

"Our motor went out," the woman said.  They were a couple who had traded one boat for this one with a promise from the old man they traded with, that the boat and motor worked just fine.  But the motor doesn't work.  I said "I'll try towing you!"

Since they'd gotten nobody else so far to help, they agreed and tied on to the end of my raft.  Now that was a hard pull.  The rope should have been tied to the bow just above the water, so my towing force would not be lost in that downward slope of the rope, from the top of their bow, down to my little raft.

I would have made it though, I just know it.  But they hailed a speed boat who agreed to tow them back around to the boat ramp.  So they cut me loose and off I went.

I saw some young men trying to snag a rope swing on a steep wooded bank.  I have long called that the rope tree.  But for them to reach the end with the wood handle, isn't so easy.  I offered up a short piece of rope I had along, to tie on the end, so once they go up the bank with the rope handle, make their swing and drop into the water, they could get ahold of it again, with a short piece of rope hanging down from it, when they're down low, to take it back up high for the next swing.  They were happy for that piece of rope and yelled out, as I rowed off, "Thank you.  We love you."  That made me grin!

I ran into two Inflatable stand up paddle boarders.  I asked if it was hard to keep balance standing up to paddle and they said it wasn't that hard.  I've seen a few up there.  It doesn't look comfortable or like much fun after awhile.  Maybe for short jaunts or for riding waves.

I like my raft.  I LOVE my raft.  I paddled around some more and went very close to one shore, overhung in tree branches, to pick big fat ripe blackberries.  My hands and mouth are still stained, the telltale signs.

I did spins in the middle of the lake, with the paddles, and then laughed and laughed.  I joked with the young vultures circling.  "Not yet," I'd say.  "Go away.  Soon enough you'll be back for me.  But not yet."

Now I'm home and still wait and still happy.

I love my raft and summer, don't you dare leave before I get out a few more times on the water.

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