Thursday, July 19, 2007
This is the lake out in the pines where I have spent some lovely afternoons this summer. It is a small place, tucked away off of a two lane country highway, picnic benches, grills for barbeques, lifeguarded but not forbidden when not. For residents, five dollars for the summer. There is a day pass for those from out of town who happen by. I think it is two or three dollars, and, given what urban types on the east coast are used to paying, I always hear murmurs about what a bargain it is, and it truly is: children can drag their floats and tubes and floating alligators and sand pails and shovels into the water while their parents and grandparents can plunk their beach chairs right in the shallow water, eat their sandwiches and oranges, and the lifeguards don't yell and there is no ten foot tall sign about restrictions on no tubes, no Marco Polo, no having fun, as seem to be so common everywhere (say, at my community pool). You almost never hear a radio, and if you do, it is back from the beach under the shade trees by a picnic, turned low, usually to a ball game, a horse race, or some quiet music. There is an ice cream stand, and children brave bare feet across the parking area, dollars clutched in wet and sandy hands. Okay, not only children. Much older folk circle their lawn chairs in the shade, some groups speaking in a mixture of English and the German of their youth.Every once in a while, the local patrol car circles both sides of the lake, the young officer enviously eyeing the water and the dock where, all day long, long legs and short legs, old and young, run, walk, or skitter to the edge and over the side in a polished dive, the belly flop, a cannonball, the nose-held-legs-first jacknife, all in all the perfect splash.