Wednesday, July 17, 2013

And Maybe This Will Be The Year...

In just a few short days I will be at Aylen Lake in Canada. Last summer my sister Cate took these photos of the lake which are stunning. This is not how I remember the lake growing up, considering I spent every summer of my life going up there. I remember leaving my friends behind, long car trips with the rest of my family and their bladders of steel, outhouses, no electricity, bonfires with neighbors I didn't like, boyfriends and then ex-boyfriends, dock spiders the size of salad plates and being around extended family for long periods of time.

Just trying to be real here.
Aylen was not my favorite place to be, though it was obviously the rest of my family's favorite, considering my sister named her daughter Gabriela Aylen. 

Gypsy Slow Down

I don't like being outside for long periods of time. I like being inside. Getting dressed down to me is a sundress and sandals. I love museums and cities. I can do my hair and make-up in five minutes flat but a fun evening to me is spending hours getting ready, sipping a cocktail, listening to Frank Sinatra serenade me while I put on that extra coat of mascara. Sitting outside on the front porch with sangria in my hand and a cool breeze is my kind of outdoorsy. I admire people like my sister Nan who wears chocos and always has sun kissed skin and wants to be a park ranger. Who loves the movie Into the Wild and chooses to camp outside in her back yard, five feet from a nice, cool house with air condition and a bed.

Of course, I married a man like my sister. 
Witt loves to be outside. His college years were spent hiking, caving and working on a long beard which I love. He and Nan are already planning a camping trip while at the lake to which I found out I am not invited (no worries here). So that's one reason we are going back to the lake, because I know he wants to. He caught the Aylen bug, the thing that seems to get under everyone's skin but mine.

Gypsy Slow Down

And yet as I look at these photos that Cate took, I wonder if maybe I'm not missing the bug entirely. I wonder if maybe, deep down, it's there in me and this will be the year that I fall in love. After all, wasn't I so content playing in the woods behind the cottage with my barbies and walking down the path to the chapel when I was younger and swimming and canoeing and playing cards by kerosene lamp? Have I let some experiences, some of the dissatisfaction of being a teenager during the summer and a young adult with dreams and goals and losses taint my memory?

Maybe this year as I sit on the end of the dock, ignoring the thought of possible tarantulas under the boards below me, I will feel the Aylen lake itch. And I don't mean those tiny bugs that leave a rash after a swim. Maybe I'll see the water through the eyes of the ones who love it; the man who explored it many years ago and was so captivated by it's wonder that he settled there and opened it up to be loved by many. Like my great-grandfather who came up in the 50's and inspired my grandfather to bring his bride up on their honeymoon to a cabin with a wood-burning stove and no indoor plumbing. They've come up every year since.

Gypsy Slow Down

Maybe I'll feel the warm air not sticky with the humidity of my hometown but clear and pure and maybe it will blow through my hair the way it blew through the hair of my mom when she was 25 and watching her children play in the water with my dad by her side. 

Maybe this year I'll walk to the chapel and I'll see the familiar cottages that we pass and as I recognize how they've changed and the people in them have changed, I'll recognize that I've changed too. I'm not the little girl playing barbies in the bright green moss but I'm also not the angsty fifteen year old who doesn't want to go to a bonfire because no one wanted her to be there, no one was expecting her to come walking down the trail. I'm something else entirely, a woman who has lived and experienced her life fully, who has seen disappointment and risen with joy, who has known independence and the security of love, and I'm full of gratitude. 

I'm grateful for what I learned at Aylen and for what I learned exploring all the other parts of the world I've had the privilege to be in, during all those months that make up the rest of my life. I'll take it all up there with me and maybe just maybe as I'm being pulled up on those water skis for the hundredth time I'll get bitten by the Aylen Lake bug, and discover its been there all along. 

Gypsy Slow Down

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