22 August 2011

"Once More to the Lake": Unplugged and Recharged

Calvin on the dock at Sixth Lake.
Apparently, the Fulton Chain of Lakes region in the Adirondacks is "AVZ": an anti-Verizon zone.
Sure, wireless reception could be had if absolutely needed, but that required me to stand in one spot on the deck extending my arms out over Sixth Lake and performing all sorts of gymnastics that strained my abilities.   

There is also one spot in the town of Inlet, along the beach at Fourth Lake, where one can get reception.  A Verizon-user convention gathered there on Saturday night, attendees identifiable by the curious practice of holding phones aloft as torch-bearers entering a cave.

Surprisingly, I didn't mind the limited cell phone coverage and no access to the Internet; it didn't take long for me to realize that almost everything could wait until my return.

Kayaking, swimming, reading, eating, drinking, and hanging with my kids, my dog, and our friends proved more than enough to keep me occupied.  Several lasting memories sustain me: my teenage son's first experiences water-skiing; my younger son's intricate gnome house built of stones, bark, moss and sticks; my daughter's delight at receiving a pair of cowgirl boots for her birthday; and my dog Calvin's first ride in a kayak.

Now I'm back and the world is still here, emails await response, phone calls need to be returned, the garden needs tending -- and it's probably best I ignored the markets last week.  I am refreshed, recharged, rejuvenated, and I even grew back my beard.
I took along one of my favorite books, the ESSAYS of E. B. WHITE, a slim, elegant volume including some of his best essays from The New Yorker and elsewhere.  White is a great lakeside companion, for he understood the lure of a lake in summer, as he so eloquently articulated in "Once More to the Lake," from Harper's Magazine in 1941:
"Summertime, oh, summertime, pattern of life indelible, the fade-proof lake, the woods unshatterable, the pasture with the sweetfern and the juniper forever and ever, summer without end; this was the background, and the life along the shore was the design, the cottagers with their innocent and tranquil design, their tiny docks with the flagpole and the American flag floating against the white clouds in the blue sky, the little paths over the roots of the trees leading from camp to camp and the paths leading back to the outhouses and the can of lime for sprinkling, and at the souvenir counters at the store the miniature birch-bark canoes and the postcards that showed things looking a little better than they looked."
Summer is not without end, and in its waning, I get one more trip away before the routines of life set anchor again.  The balance of the year, with its inevitable changes and schedules and business may be made easier by this brief respite to the fade-proof lake in the Adirondack woods.

At least, that's what I tell myself now that my phone keeps blinking and buzzing, calling me back.

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