Childhood nostalgia for the Great Lakes.
Lake Ontario was always there, as big as the ocean to my childish mind. Even now, as an adult, I forget that the ocean will be salty and have an undertow. I am connected to that place. Inexorably I return there, year after year. I return because my family is there, but it's more than that.
I return, because when I am there, I can reconnect with all the past versions of my self that have been there. I can revisit the emotions from those times, the ideals I held, the problems which caused me anguish (and I eventually conquered), the memories made during all those times. I share them with family, and I reflect on them alone. If I meditate, I can take myself there now.
I am sitting in the backyard of my aunt's cottage, which is perched upon the shore of Lake Ontario. The lake and sky are blurred together in a blue haze of summer heat and humidity. The sun blares through it all to dance among the swishing leaves of the aspens clinging to the steep bank. The earth feels warm beneath me, and the grass feels silky between my fingers. A deep breath fills me with the taste and smell of the lake,the fire waiting to grill tonight's dinner, the sunscreen coating my exposed skin. A thousand memories of childhood flood through me... July 4th celebrations; outings in the boat; collecting lumps of smelly clay for art projects; water games; trips to Pennock's Ice Cream -- always rainbow sherbet; failed attempts to catch elusive minnows in my bare hands; summer nights spent sleeping to the lullaby of the lake, and being fanned by its cooling summer breeze.
I am there, experiencing it all with my senses again. When I see the weaker, sadder versions of my younger self, I wish I could go to her and just talk to her. I do not wish to tell her what her future holds, I just want to give her the words she never received from the one who should have given them.
As I open my eyes, I am surprised (but not completely) to notice there are tears gathered on my eyelashes. As they begin to fall, unexpectedly, I am reminded again of the salty tang of the ocean. An unfamiliar wave of homesickness washes over me and tugs at me. I yearn for the calm, fresh waters of my lake.