(This is an oldie but one I was reminded of this past week while enjoying a few moments of solitude on Moon Lake during my final kayak ride of the season.)
The silence is deafening. This past week the last of the snowbirds closed up their cabin and headed south with the migrating geese. The campground that overflows with summer guests now sits empty. And, the summer tourism traffic that keeps our village’s economy going has dropped with the temperatures. Today, Moon Lake is mine.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not the only year-round resident to be blessed enough to live on this sandy based, wake-free, crystal clear piece of paradise. But sitting here at the end of my dock – one of the few still left in the water – I am surrounded by the fullest sense of emptiness I’ve experienced since last spring. And in this moment, I can’t help but wonder why I am still here when they are all gone.
I often find myself defending this place I’ve grown to call home. My young, urban friends don’t understand why I’d want to commute nearly two hours everyday to live in the “middle of nowhere.” My rural friends wonder why I choose to live in the “middle of nowhere” but yet can see my neighbors home. To them – nowhere means no neighbors.
My answers often include the practicalities of living in the half-way point for my husband’s and my commute, the holding value of lakeshore property, and the above average school my yet to be born kids could potentially someday attend. Three points that any typical homeowner should value.
As I ponder this notion, looking longingly at the now empty cabins, I begin to realize that maybe I’m the one missing the point. That maybe, just maybe, I’m not the crazy one for living here year round. After all, it is here that the lake defines my neighborhood—the monthly lake association breakfasts at the Rustic Roost provide necessary proof. After all, it is here that I can so clearly see raising a family filled with summer memories of lake parties and barbecues and winters packed with ice fishing, skating and just wondering aimlessly on the vast frozen water. After all, it is here that life seems simpler—defined by what I do each day versus what I buy or who I know.
Folks often think fondly of cabin memories. For me, those memories I get to experience everyday. Does this come with some inconveniences in life? Certainly. Just ask me how I feel about lake life on a Sunday afternoon when I discover what I want for dinner needed to be bought before the grocery store closed at 3. But that shouldn’t outweigh the fact that I’m living in a place that thousands long to be each year. Instead of this being a second home, it is my only home. And, as each day that passes, my heart grows fonder of this place.
A chainsaw whirs in the background. My nearest neighbor is prepping wood for the winter. I’m suddenly jilted back to today, this moment. And suddenly, as clear as I can see to the bottom of Moon Lake, I understand that I need not defend but instead embrace that thing called living on a lake.