You know that saying, “Go to your happy place?” I’m lucky enough to be able to visit mine several times a year. In fact, that’s where I spent last weekend.
As soon as my bare feet hit the smooth wooden slats of my parent’s deck, I can feel my shoulders pulling down and away from my ears. I breathe a little deeper. I smile a little broader. I laugh a little harder.
This was a particularly splendid visit. I dove off of the dock, emerging from beneath the water’s surface to the chimes of my mother’s loud laugh. I watched a sunrise with a new friend. I explored a rocky, shore-line trail with my Germans, matching our stride to the beat of Dad’s walking stick as it clanked against stone and thumped against exposed roots. I painted my face (and Dad’s head) with the magenta nectar from a fistful of crushed poke berries. Then we removed the juice by scrubbing our hands with sand in the cool, clear water.
I had a long, early-morning conversation with a hummingbird. Later, Dad showed me the bird’s pile of minuscule poo pellets. Unlike the poke berries, we did not crush them in our hands and use them to paint our faces.
I spent hours doing nothing but watching the ever-changing water and strumming the ever-out-of-tune Herbert. Mom and I sang in harmony to our favorite Peter Paul and Mary classics. Then we sang decidedly out of harmony to our less than favorite Judy Collins songs. We determined the piano was WAY out of tune. We determined the hammer dulcimer is partly in tune. I sang “I See the Moon” to the giant orange orb reflected on the smooth surface of the lake as I sipped prosecco and nibbled at home made tiramisu.
I learned that an old family friend, a woman whom I’d only really known as a stay at home mother, an eternally present fixture at the house down the street, had experienced more adventures than I could ever hope to even imagine for myself. I also learned that you should never call someone from Uruguay a salami. I developed a new appreciation for the fascinating and diverse adults my parents surrounded us with during our developing years.
I won a game of marbles, and as a result was slandered in no less than three languages.
Hemingway can have The Keys and Cuba. I call dibs on Smith Mountain Lake.
Since we’ve established multiple times that photography is not my medium, I’m stealing some photos of my favorite place. These were taken by my pal Joy Allain. I think she did a pretty fantastic job of capturing the magic that is my favorite place.