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Monday, August 8, 2016

A Different Clock

I've run away from home to home. It's summer and it's lake time.


Lake time. It can mean so many things -- those glorious months anticipated during the long winter. Time to sit on the beach with a good book, feeling the warmth of the sun and hearing the gentle lap of the waves. (And, more than I'd like, the rumble of the jet skis!). Time to take a walk on the quiet roads, surrounded by trees on one side and cottages on the other. Time to stop for a minute and chat with a neighbor or a stranger our walking his dog.


Lake time.

For me, it is also the absence of time, of schedule. At the lake one goes to bed when they are tired and rises when ready to greet the day. We eat when we are hungry. We drive into town if we need something or take a road trip is we feel like it.


About the only time the television is on is if it's a rainy evening when I can't be on the porch until the sun goes down and I can no longer see the words on the page without straining. (Or on Sunday night and PBS' British line-up!) I think I can remember how to hook up the VCR -- yes, videotapes. All the tapes I had once at home have moved north, the purgatory between no-longer-wanted-at-home and the yard sale, then the dump-or-donate zone. I suppose I could get a DVD player. I might. Or not.


I have a clock radio by my bed, the only reliable marker of time in the house. There's another clock, a battery-operated one, but it runs fast. Or slow. Which, I suppose, is fine for lake time. Besides, Lizzie keeps me posted on meal time.

For some reason, the absence of time gives us more time. Time to paint or go into town to sample all the best from the bounty at the farmers' market. We can jump in that cool, fresh water and swim until our arms no longer move. And then an hour later, jump in again.



At the lake, time only matters if you are headed to the movies (rare in the summertime) or if you've made a plan to meet someone someplace at a given moment. Apart from that, we judge days by the position of the sun in the sky. In the morning, the impossibly tall pines cast shadows on the back yard, streaking the scraggly grass with light. By one, it has moved over toward the lake side of the house and by two is beating brightly on the sand, warming it to happy feet. By five or six it has moved again, bathing the porch with light.


We watch the sky for signs of storms, intense ones being few and far between but a gentle rain always welcome -- once the sun has gone down! Every sunset seems unique though when I look at the photos later, so many seem the same. Still, that very moment is it's own and as the sky turns various shades of orange, pink, purple and gold, I hold the camera and wait for it to change, minute by minute.

It is a different kind of clock we live with in the summers at the lake. Our circle narrows to those with whom we are in close contact. It may be Rick or a visiting friend or a cousin coming in from down the road. It might be a few words with the neighbor or the septic tank cleaners or the tree trimmers. But most of the time any conversation is more or less one-sided. I speak with Lizzie. She may or may not acknowledge me. And that is fine.


Summer evenings are long. The July Fourth fireworks begin at 10:30 when the sky is finally an inky black. The light we turn on inside casts enough of a glow that we can still be on the porch, playing cards or Scrabble until it's time to brush teeth and crawl in to cool sheets.


If we're lucky and the lake isn't too still, we'll hear the waves gently lapping on the shore. It's a musical sound of sorts, a rhythmic lapping punctuated briefly by other instruments -- a burst of breeze through the pines, a far-off slamming of a door, a fishing boat putting slowly and quietly along the water.


In my city life, I'm aware of time almost every minute. Time for this appointment or that meeting or this television program or that lunch date.


I'm at the lake. It's a different clock. And oh, there is none better.

32 comments:

Jann Olson said...

Sounds like a little bit of heaven! Love heading to the lake and the mountains. This weekend we are headed to Disneyland with some of our kids. Looking forward to hitting the beach! Lake time is wonderful and your art work is fabulous!
hugs,
Jann

Lisbeth Ekelof said...

What a wonderful life! I love waves lapping the shore and sunsets. Seems like you have got the place for it. It is fantastic not to have to live by the clock, but let the day pass as it will. Carpe Diem.

Joyful said...

You really do have a nice life :-)

Valerie-Jael said...

Looks like a good life, must be nice to get away sometimes. Hugs, Valerie

Maggie said...

How wonderful it must be to be away from city life where you're constantly clock watching, your castaways days spent at the lake sound idyllic. Even though we're now both retired our days are somewhat regimented, comes from having a pet that needs 3 long walks every day I suppose. We are both longing for our trip to Rhodes, Greece in October when we'll leave clocks, watches and, shock horror, even the internet behind to live life in the moment for 10 days.

Victoria Zigler said...

Sounds wonderful...

The French Hutch said...

Jeannie, you have wishing for a lake house! Lake life sounds heavenly, an escape from all of the bad that seems to be the norm news now! How wonderful you have a way to get off the fast train of life and move at a slower pace, time to enjoy time. Sigh, wishing I were somewhere on a lake. Even Lizzie looks more relaxed…………..

shoreacres said...

Actually, you've described my life, as far as time goes. I live with a clock on the microwave, my grandmother clock that belonged to my parents, and the little time indicator at the bottom of my computer. Oh, and in the car. But, unless I have an appointment, I pay them no mind. Since I work by the sun, and calculate my days by where the shadows will be, a clock's useless.

With little attention paid to time, and no time spent on social media, I might as well be at your lake!

Actually, there's a change coming that's related. I've signed up to be trained as a volunteer at Armand Bayou nature center -- it's like a very, VERY fancy ditch. I have my first meeting on Thursday evening. "A meeting?" I think. I haven't been to a meeting since about 1990. I honestly don't know if I want to move back into a world where people have M*E*E*T*I*N*G*S! But, if I want to be a part of the volunteer corps (I'm thinking of starting in the native plant nursery, and then as a trail guide) I have to go to meetings. AND wear a shirt with a logo. Oh, my. I hope I can adjust! And be on time, of course.

Joanne Huffman said...

Beautifully written ode to your time at the lake. There are many similarities tomy time at the beach.

Shelia said...

Hi Jeanie! Oh, you're a lucky little gal! This sounds absolutely heavenly! I'm so happy you're able to get away and just 'be'! Thanks for popping in to see me and No!! I'll never leave my blog. I've been blogging for a very long time and it's just part of me!
Be a sweetie,
Shelia :)

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

When I go to just one of our local lakes, there is no clock. Time stops, time seems to wave like the surface of the water. And with sunsets like THIS ONE HERE, it's not a measure of time, but a spectacle of endless beauty. Ain't it great, the lake life?

bj said...

ahhhh...lake time...don't we all love it. Daughter and her family have a pretty lake house on a huge lake here in Texas and it's heaven to spend a few days there...doing nothing...xo

I need orange said...

I'm so glad you are getting to enjoy this space of alternate time. It sounds wonderful. :-)

Marilyn Miller said...

How I dream of lake time. My bones almost ache from desire when reading your post. You make it sound just a bit of heaven. Your photos are just wonderful.

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

Oh you are so kind to follow the link to the interview my friend! ENJOY!

My name is Erika. said...

Oh lake time. I love it. What gorgeous sunsets you have there. My mother-in-law lives on a lake by us and sunset is my favorite time, well so is sitting on the dock and reading and relaxing, taking a dip when I get too hot. I think you know how to have a wonderful summer! Hugs-Erika

Valerie CottageMakingMommy said...

Your lake time looks amazing.

Valerie CottageMakingMommy said...

Your lake time looks amazing.

Sandra Cox said...

How perfect. You must be so relaxed and free of tension.
The pictures are wonderful. Especially the beautiful sunset and Lizzie:)

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

I'm old school VCR, too. And this post was simply perfect. I agree that there are times you never need a clock or a schedule. That's the best part of being on vacation. I really enjoyed everything about this post, from the gorgeous photos to the relaxed feel/vibe I got. Lizzie was pretty impressive, too!

Beth Leintz said...

What a beautiful essay about the flow of time during summer. You really captured recollections of summer at my parents lake place in Minnesota.

Jennifer Richardson said...

I feel my breathing slow to the rhythm of this gentle time - thanks
for bringing my heart to a sweet rest. Lake time:) Your photos are a tall drink of cool water. So beautiful and moving.
Many thanks for this wonderful share,
Jennifer

Dr. Kathy McCoy said...

Lake time sounds so perfect! I love your concept that lake time gives you more time. So true when you're immersed in so many good things! I love that you share this wonderful time with us!

Red Rose Alley said...

Jeanie, the lake sounds wonderful, and just the place I'd like to be right now after our wedding festivities. These sunsets are amazing, they really are. I'm a morning person, so I often see the sunrises instead. Your pictures are beautiful today, and I'm so glad that you have a place to rest, think, dream, and play with your cat.

~Sheri

BeachGypsy said...

Hi Jeanie, that was an amazing post and I loved it! such pretty photos as well!

Bella Rum said...

Lake time sounds like the best time. I enjoyed all of the pics but those sunsets were something. So happy for you that you have a place you love to go and spend time. It's a gift.

Kitty said...

God blessyou, Jeanie. Love toyou both.

Stacey said...

Jeanie, your lake time sounds just dreamy to me. To sit and soak up nature, to watch a cat sleep, to draw and paint...all sounds like the stuff that stories are made of. You could write a book about this.

Katie Clooney said...

Sounds like I would love lake time... a lot! Always enjoy your posts filled with great pics.

Tammie Lee said...

your sketches are entirely lovely.
your lake time sounds wonderful and a lot like my life.
i love being on my porch. the other night we got to watch a great gray owl from it.

Lynne said...

Sounds and looks wonderful . . .
Love your art journal sketches . . .

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

Ahh, lake time sounds amazing. And it is amazing. I had about 5 days of lake time when I was at my parents' in July and it was wonderful. I rarely have my cell phone on me so I am mostly unaware of the time and it's blissful. It's wonderful to go to bed when tired and wake up when I feel ready to get out of bed. There's no pressure to get up and start a load of laundry or do chores, so I am more apt to lay in bed for longer when I am at the lake. I am glad you are getting some time away to just be and do whatever you feel like doing! That's so important for us as the clock and our schedules can be punishing at times!!!

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