Lake Michigan is exceptionally calm now, in the moments after sunset, and so am I. I knew this day would come, and now that it’s here, I am surprised at the peace ruling my heart.
I am tempted to wistfulness and regret. I wish I could have spent more time out here with the children. I wish, on quiet days, we would have taken our folding chairs and a glass of tea out here. We could have chatted and read our books.
I wish there were a way I could bottle these memories and take a sip each evening as the light fades.
Of course, real memories would have to include the fact that while the kids were out here playing beach volleyball, I was inside, spreading peanut butter and jelly on Roman Meal whole wheat bread, and squeezing lemons for lemonade. How could I forget the sand they tracked throughout the whole cottage when they came in between games to inhale food and drink without pausing to breathe?
And while the idea of reading a book out on the pier sounds like a good idea, there might only be five days a year when the temperature was warm enough, the wind low enough, and on at least four of those days the mosquitoes and horse flies would wipe the smile off the most inveterate nature lover.
The packed boxes, including the pictures, are all on their way to my grown children now, and my daughter will receive the picture of our catamaran in full sail on one of those golden afternoons, foam on the waves, and laughter in the air. Will she be able to enjoy it or will she only see the picture in her mind of the day a runaway speed boat tipped it over before slamming it into the pier, breaking off the post and ruining her brother’s birthday party.
Bitter and sweet, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish until death…and so the sun has set and I must say goodbye to this beloved place. My vision is dimming but my memories are sharp and clear. I enter the winter of my life without fear. The One who has led me safe this far will lead me the rest of the way home.