Sunday morning begins hot and out-of-sorts in our house. As antidote, we load the kayaks on the car. We paddle through a passage between floes of waterlilies in a breathtaking landscape — clouds reflected in water and all those perfect flowers. We’re not far from home, but the kayakers and canoeists we pass are all strangers who raise hands in quiet hellos.
In no rush at all, we paddle to the pond’s far end, where we drift for a long while, talking and handing a box of crackers between us. A loon and a single chick bob nearby. The other loon parent appears with a string of lunch in her or his mouth.
Later, we pull our kayaks on a shore and swim out to a raft where we lie in the sun and talk about where we might be five years, ten years, down the line. A man swims out with his two daughters, and we talk a little with him about the raft and the sun and the waterlilies that cover the pond.
I’m reminded of William Blake’s line about seeing the world in a grain of sand as we slowly paddle back to where we began. I’ve walked across sections of this pond in the midwinter around ice fishing holes. A number of years ago, a teenager drowned here, a boy I knew as a baby. His parents were vendors in the same farmers market where my husband and I sold maple syrup and ice cream. We all had little ones in those days. On those hot afternoons, we shared stories while swaying with babies on our backs.
The pond this July day reflects only sweetness and beauty. At the shore, my daughters load our kayaks back on our car. I rinse off my bare feet at the water’s edge. A little boy runs to the end of the dock. His father stands waist deep in the water. He raises his arms and says, Jump. I’ll catch you.