It is the morning of September 3rd, the last day of travel during the return return chauffeuring of my younger son from his summer job at Lake O'Hara, north of Lake Louise, Alberta, to Toronto, Ontario. My son and I are dawdling somewhat, slowly breaking camp and making breakfast during which most of our campsite neighbours leave. The sky is overcast and the temperature is coolish. Yesterday's raucous, westerly waves–that reflected the sun as if they were covered in mercury–have calmed under a slight breeze that seems to be moving along the shore or slightly off of it. The ripples move in right-to-left, and left-to-right efforts along the beach and have sculpted a broad scalloped apron of naked sand and pebbles. There is no question; I must swim.
I pull on my suit, a long-sleeved surfing shirt and shorts over top, plus scuba booties. I walk to the beach and drop my towel on the rocks. The lake and beach are all mine–there is nobody else around other than a seagull rising and twisting above the surface with admirable ease–the grace of the same calm delight as me. I walk into the water. It is cold, but warmer than the air. I know enough not to prolong the moment of submersion, so I commit and dive in. The water feels beautiful–fits me perfectly, and I am annoyed when I must come up for air. The beach is still all mine. I stand waist-deep and look out along the horizon and the compelling, silvery top of this lake that I adore, trying to anchor the experience into my cells. I feel that if I could come into this scene several times a day, that life might just be alright.
I move to get out of the water in consideration of the day's schedule ahead, but I turf the thought and dive back underneath. In this moment, I wish there was someone to share this with. I can feel my blood pumping, almost hear it in this silence. If I could find the switch that holds me together and flip it, I would be happy to deconstruct and become part of this lake and beach right there and then. I don't want to leave. I don't want to see the city. I don't want to hear news. I don't want to break this magic.