Friday, July 24, 2009

Once More To The Lake

Once More To The Lake is a classic short story by E.B. White. His story is about the lake where he vacationed with his family as a boy. White, now grown, decides to take his own son fishing at said lake. While there he remembers the good times he had there as a boy, when he would "dress softly so as not to wake the others, and sneak out into the sweet outdoors and start out in the canoe, keeping close along the shore in the long shadows of the pines."

White's story is that of many guests of Lakeview Cottages who vacationed at Huntington Lake with their families as children, and who now vacation there with their own children. White had not been to the lake for years, but seeing it again as an adult almost convinced him "beyond any doubt that everything was as it always had been, that the years were a mirage and that there had been no years."

Sitting in a fishing boat at Huntington Lake, or by the fire at night, I can be equally convinced that no time has passed, nor has anything changed, since I first camped there in 1972. Nothing has changed since Sue and I spent glorious summers there courting each other in the late 70's. Nothing has changed since the years when toddler Valerie played naked in the chilly water. Nothing has changed since Jessica caught her first fish. Surely "the years were a mirage."

Of course, there had been years for White, and have been years for us, as well. Time passes, and with it our lives. White’s story ends with White watching his son pull on wet swim trunks as the boy prepared to go swimming. “Languidly, and with no thought of going in, I watched him, his hard little body, skinny and bare, saw him wince slightly as he pulled up around his vitals the small, soggy, icy garment. As he buckled the swollen belt suddenly my groin felt the chill of death.”

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