Sunday, July 09, 2006

Lake Winnipasaukee

Today is cool and not really lake swimming weather. We have been having fun in paddle boats, canoes, kayaks, skirting the coast, peeking around rocky points. But this morning we are becalmed and nothing moves us. The kids are cooped up and jumping up and down, variously making attempts to get us to go to the lake shore, making make believe pizzas(Anya of course), dancing and singing while adults check email, look at brochures for ideas on somewhere to go. Then the sun comes out, and we all head down to the lake.

In the distance there is the continuous hummm buzz whine of motorboats, pleasure boats, speed boats and jet skis, all of which dash and criss cross the water like water striders on a pond. The traffic on the lake has subsided somewhat after the 4th, but still it is a moment to remark when there are not boats to be seen and silence, only the lapping of waves, and wind in the trees.

Lake Winnipasaukee. Every once in a while you get a feel for what it is/was without the veneer of motor driven mania. Northeastern woods and lake-- spruce covered islands dot the water, cloud ridden emptiness of sky and mountain, loneliness, loons, the quiet of an intense brief summer, mosquitoes, large and hungry, and the vast ache of sparsely settled country. This place was not that friendly to farmers, ranchers, lovers of leisure. It took someone rugged to settle the land and survive. Now the owners tell us that all winter snowmobiles, trucks and 4 wheel drives roam the frozen waters of the lake all winter. A carved wooden statue of an Indian looks over the lake, an incongruous reminder of the past. I imagine that 500 years in the future there might be a statue to commemorate the reign of white people--a motorboat with a caucasian in shorts and t-shirt holding a 6 pak of beer.

The last day we kayaked out to a small island which had been tantalizing us and from which I had been chased off by the nearest neighbor who said the police were looking for vandals and this was private property. We paddled on past it and headed on further out to what we were told was a larger island. It was mid day and the water sparkled and spangled all around us. There was little wind, the lake was smooth and we made good time, feeling some expertise, stroking in rhythm. Anya sat on her mother's lap in one kayak with Connie behind, and Cara and I in another, Madison between us. Speed boats whipped by us, leaving us heaving and rocking in their wake, but sometimes, it was just us, moving silently across the water toward what destination we did not know or care. About midway to what we thought was the big island, a woman alone in a kayak passed us and we stopped her to ask about a good place to debark. Her husband had dropped her off and she was paddling back home. Assured we are headed toward the big island, Sandy, and assured that it is too far to reach in good time, we turned and headed back, racing each other at times, sometimes sitting still for a while, at peace with wind, sun and water. Anya feel asleep in her mother's lap, Cara and I hit shallow rocks, and have to backtrack around but we paddle hard and catch up with the others as we edge to our shore.

I swam out to the water trampoline and spent the rest of the day lollygagging around on it and got very sunburned. A good last day of vacation.

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