An Evening On The Lake
Words and Photos by Ashley Herrin
At 1:00 o’clock I’m tempted to go out there. It seems as though the children’s echoes of excitement and screeches over the tadpoles swimming between their toes has subsided. I’m anxious to have time for myself on the lake. But, as I had assumed, it was just a silence brought on by mothers’ lunch calls and full bellies. The lake would soon be alive again with laughter and splashing, it will only be just a few more minutes now. I resume my position on the old wooden Adirondack chair and return to my book.
At 4:00 o’clock there is a lull again. Perhaps a day of play has sent many children to their cabins or tents, wrapped in their damp towels, ready to embrace an afternoon nap. Ah, certainly, it’s now my time.
As I grab my paddle and head down towards the dock I notice the miniature white caps formed by the even–tinier waves lapping up on shore. Of course, the afternoon winds... right on time. The gentle breeze of the afternoon brings with it cooler temperatures for the evening, but promise to send you in circles if you’re caught on a solo canoe ride as I was hoping for.
And so I wait some more. I wait for the perfect moment where I seem to have the lake, and the trees, and a gentle breeze to myself. I begin to worry that I may only have this “me” time at a time when no functioning person should be awake.
At 7:00, while I’m busy tending the fire and preparing to cook the evening’s meal, I notice it. The silence. The stillness. The calm. The loon has returned to his post at the far end of the lake, calling every few minutes to his mate.
A slight haze begins to settle amongst the pines that embrace the lake, creating a mist reminiscent of morning, except this mist smells faintly of firewood and a campfire dinner. Slowly the trees fade from green to yellow to orange as the sun delivers its finest golden hour performance.
Now is my time. I retrieve my paddle once again and head for the canoe tucked between the dock and the small peninsula of land that provides shelter for a neighborhood of bullfrogs. I push off from the shore, gliding through the water that ripples from my paddle with each row. With each stroke of the paddle, I stop, pulling it in to sit on my lap while I take in my surroundings completely. I close my eyes. Breathe it in. Repeat.
The air is fresh and invigorating. The water is calm, like glass. The sun sets on another perfect evening on the lake. This is the moment I’ve been waiting for.