Well! I had been sent by my editor to the lake to get a few photos. The lake was a popular swimming place but known for drownings. Hardly a year had gone by when there hadn’t been at least one drowning. The magazine was going to publish an article highlighting the dangers of swimming in the lake. Hence the need for a few photos.
When I arrived at the lake there were half a dozen people swimming about. In fact they were playing with a beach ball, tossing it one to another and judging from what I saw I deduced that the aim was to steal the beach ball off the opposition.
One of the contributing factors to the drownings is the weed. There is thick water weed growing on the lake floor and occasionally someone’s foot gets tangled in the weed and they can’t emerge.
And then a miracle happened! This woman – I suppose she was about twenty – got caught in the weed. She was jumping up and waving and gasping for air. She was going under and remerging and flaying about like an octopus. At first I thought she must have been bitten by a fish or something. Then all went still. Her beach ball friends were stunned into silence, and she sort of floated and went under. Floated and went under several times.
I managed to capture it all. My editor is going to be thrilled.
It had rained all week. Sometimes the showers were quite heavy and accompanied by thunder. Trixie was trapped inside for four days with her five school age children. It was the “summer” break. Her husband was somewhere up in Alaska on some business with oil. He wouldn’t be back for another week.
What does one do with five children aged five to twelve (including the twins) stuck inside for a week? The colouring-in books were finished; the computer games had run their course (at least the time Trixie allotted for computer games had run their course); jigsaws were done; cards were played… Even the guitar sat abandoned and untuned in the corner of a now fairly messy living room.
The rain had caused havoc. Surface water covered backyard lawns. The roads weren’t dangerous rivers but still required much care. The local park was a lake!
“Come on children,” declared Trixie. “Leave your raincoats behind. We’re going to the park.”
Off they went in the rain complete with soccer ball. Never was such muddy fun had! They were a family of drowned rats – including Trixie. Soon they were joined by a few other families, maybe twenty people in all. By now the playing field was in a fairly muddy condition, but Nature sorts out such things, and it is what parks are for.
Back home they couldn’t stop talking about it! All were showered, dried, and changed. Trixie baked some cinnamon buns with lashing of melted butter.
There’s a little lake at the back of my property. It’s surrounded by trees. Sometimes I think I must be the only person who knows the lake exists. I’ve never seen anyone there, and it doesn’t appear to be on any map I’ve seen. Mind you, it’s not a big lake.
That lake gives me a lot of pleasure. In fact I have a green plastic chair I leave down there and often I’ll sit for a quiet, reflective time. Sometimes there are a few wild ducks swimming about. Twice now I’ve seen a couple of blue herons fossicking in the shallows. But it’s the stillness of the lake that fills me with the greatest joy.
I’ve had this property for about forty years; about thirty of those I suppose I’ve been going to the lake on a regular basis. Goodness! Thirty years since my wife died! I didn’t go to the lake hardly at all before that.
I still can’t believe how placid and calming that little lake is these days. Contrast that with the tumultuous clamour my wife made when I threw her in with concrete blocks tied to her knees. She was flaying about like an octopus caught in a net. Such a hullabaloo! Such a racket!
Yes indeed. I never knew before then how a little lake could hold such joy.
Every day after school Biddy would go down to the lake to feed the fish. A good dozen trout used to wait for her, and then dart around excitedly when she appeared. They knew her and Biddy knew them. She even had names for some of them: Spot, Rainbow, Shadow, Speedy…
One day her mother said, “Why don’t you catch one for dinner? There’s plenty there, and one less fish won’t matter.”
So Biddy did that. She got a little fishing line, and fortunately caught one of the trout that didn’t have a name.
But none of the fish ever came back to see Biddy again. They disappeared into the depths of the lake. She had lost their trust.
Lynette was absolutely crapping herself. She knew what she was doing was illegal. She sat in the air flight for sixteen hours worried silly.
Back home she had a lake. It was a beautiful lake at the end of sprawling lawns with weeping willows. There was one thing the lake lacked: white swans. There were no white swans in the country, only black ones. Black swans weren’t as graceful as white swans. Oh for white swans gliding on the lake!
Lynette had hidden three swan’s eggs in her luggage. She could get fined thousands of dollars if Customs officials discovered them. Why had she done it? Why? Why? The flight home was sixteen hours of pure stress. Perhaps she should own up to it.
The plane landed. Lynette collected her luggage and proceeded to pass through Customs.
“You’re fine,” said the Customs official waving her through without even checking.
You’ve no idea! You’ve no idea! The relief! Oh! The relief! Lynette was over the moon. All she needed now was an incubator.
Anyway, the next morning Lynette’s husband had them for breakfast.