Swan dive.

19 07 2019

We gathered down at the beach late Friday afternoon, drinks in hand, and sat with the vista of the north end of the lake set before us like freshly painted art, the mountains arced on each side, fading from greenish gray to the far off hues of deep blues. We laughed, visited and caught up with each other, setting the tone for the girls weekend before us.

I admit I was eyeing up the dock long before my sister whispered into my ear. Even though it was on the cooler side, I’m generally not one to miss out an opportunity to plunge into Kootenay Lake. None of us had our suits on, however, but when Kim subtly nudged me and suggested we jump off the dock, swimsuits were not a concern of mine. Winning, however, was.

We ran onto the dock while the girls on the beach hooted and hollered. While I ran, I stripped off my shorts and top, intent on winning the race AND launching myself off the dock in what I hoped would be a graceful, perfectly executed dive into the water. Right down to straight legs and pointed toes.

I stole a quick glance behind me and saw I was clearly in the lead. Full speed, I ran, with the edge of the dock a mere eight feet away, and the cool blue-gray waters of the lake beckoning me like a sweet lover.

That was when my left foot collided with the pointy edge of a metal boat cleat… And I went sprawling, catching my right foot under me with enough instinctual presence to flounder rather than fall. I windmilled in an attempt to prevent a full naked body skid along a very slivery aged dock and instead, launched off the edge in a frenzy of arms and legs, and, also, I daresay, bare bum in the air, and spectacularly bellyflopped into the lake.

I came up, sputtering and coughing to see my sister bent over in absolute hysterics. She managed to ask if I was okay in between bouts of guffaws. I climbed the ladder and stood in all my glory, dripping wet, gave my audience on the beach a loud WOOOOOO-HOOOO and then looked down at my foot. It… well it wasn’t broken, but it was instantly swollen and rather pinkish-red. Not a speck of toe nail polish remained on three of my toes. The polish was, as we discovered the next day, embedded in the boards as three long purple streaks, as if to say “Kris was here… and here… and here…”

It could have ended badly, but I’d rather not think about that. I’d rather think about how I provided a good laugh for my friends and I also that I WON.

 

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A little ebb and a little flow

26 08 2017

It’s looking pretty fatigued out there these days. Limp and exhausted, branches support the faded echoes of spring bravado. Brilliant greens are no more than a memory of the beginning of summertime; every leaf drained of its glory, a muted effort to stay for just a bit longer. Sunlight casts a different angle through my windows, lighting up the dust motes dancing and much to my chagrin, lighting up every single dog hair on my wood floors.

There is just under a month of summer left, but it’s the somewhat melancholic summer days that eke out a sadness in my heart. A panicky flutter of my soul, eager to wring out every last delicious drop of it. Did I swim enough? Did I sit on my deck and watch the stars come out enough? Will I have feasted on summertime enough to tide me through the dark days, the cold nights that are on their way?

The answer of course is yes. I have closed my eyes while floating in the Bay, breathing in that intoxicating summer smell. I have savoured bites of huckleberry crisp, berries that we picked early in the morning, my eyes almost tearing up at the tart and sweet of it all. I’ve marveled at the gift of walking my dog at dusk in nothing but shorts and a tank top, that warm air kissing our skin. Sundays over at Sunshine Bay with friends, that hot sun searing on our shoulders, and the only way to cool down is a plunge in the lake.

I’d gladly have more summertime. I love that heat, the early sunny mornings. Those late nights, hearing music echo from a beach party across the lake. Bike rides and peonies, lawn mowers and hummingbirds. I feel more me in the summer, I can’t explain it better than that.

But our seasons, they are part of us. We morph into each one, some reluctantly, others with excitement. There is magic in every seasonal change. There is joy found with crisp fall days and leaves crunching under our feet. Hot tea instead of iced coffee in the afternoons, sweaters and boots find their way from the darkness of our closets. Soups and bread nourish us. That brilliant blue of a fall sky demands our admiration and yes, we admit its beauty. Boisterous oranges and reds and yellows are painted on our landscapes, and yes, it is no more than simply breathtaking.

We ebb and flow, like tides. It’s not without a measure of dispirited energy for some. For others though, Autumn is their favourite season and they’ve trudged through the summer heat with the sweet knowledge that it is on its way.

These last few weeks of summer that are laid out before us demand us to enjoy. Have one more BBQ, a couple more days on the boat. Swim a few more times. Marvel at your tan lines. As we meander through these last of the summer days, we give in to it, we acquiesce to Nature.

And we find joy and beauty in it all.

 





For the love of my lake.

4 06 2014

Have you ever been by a lake and wanted to simply just be by it? Be a part of it? Swim in it, gaze at it, dip your feet into it? Live your life by its simple beauty?

When I was a little girl, my family would sometimes venture from our lakeless home in the East Kootenays to travel north of Kaslo to camp at Schroeder Creek with my grandparents. I recall my nose pressed against the window of the back seat of the Plymouth Fury, goggling at the houses dotted along the North Shore of Nelson: Kim and I would marvel at the lucky unknown souls who got to live by this lake all the time.

We played in her water, found treasures on her shore. (I once found a chunk of weird looking wood that Grandpa said was petrified…. I lost that bit of wonder that weekend and still mourn the loss). We experienced the “black line” of a summer storm in my Grandpa’s boat, rushing back to camp after fishing, the last kilometer or two an exhilaration, wrapped in my life jacket, the bow slamming down after each breach of  the whitecaps of Kootenay Lake…. I would guard the precious cargo of Kokanee, some still gasping for air in the bucket, to my wondrous and morbid eyes; ready to have Grandma prepare for dinner. (I admit I hated eating fish back then, the invisible bones of the fish would fill me with fear, as I took tentative bites, nibbling miniscule morsels in fear of a bone lodging in my esophagus.) We swam and returned lobster-red back in the pre-sunscreen days to run wild among the campers. Rosie would hand out the dredges of her giant buckets of ice cream she sold from the store… I still remember my baby cousin Jami Rose crawling right into that bucket to lick the last bits of goodness, her diapered bottom and dirty feet the only thing we could see sticking out. Dusk on the shores meant fires and marshmallows and canvas-scented infused sleeps.

Who knew that I would one day call this lake home? I could only dream of that gift. But one day I got a call from my Dad telling me that they were moving to Nelson. “What the fuck” I thought to myself, years before WTF was the thing… but I still decided to tag along, thinking it would be temporary stepping stone to my next adventure.

And lo and behold, here I still am, some 23 years later. I still travel along the shores of my lake every day, I see her moods day in and day out. The glint of the winter sun casting steely grey flashes at me, ice gathering along the shore, the spring comes with the rise of the water, hiding my favourite marks along the lake (including a rock formation at Nasookin that I call “Sleeping Man”). The summer months invite me into her waters, cold and icy, refreshing and delicious. Deep dives off the boat, races off the beach with my besties, dangled feet off docks. Evening runs along her shores, rewarded with cooling skinny dips at my favourite rocky beach. Ospreys soar and dive, proving the superiority of their fishing prowess. Seeking high mountain outlooks through hikes and quad rides so we can marvel at the vastness of her size. The moods and ebbs and flows of this lake is much like a wanton woman. Passionate and fierce and full of desire.

I love this lake so much.

This lake holds my soul. She nurtures my heart within her blue depths. She is me, I am her.