Wednesday, December 09, 2009

The Lake

The lake is a flat stretch of blue surrounded by a thicket of tall pines. It is wide and long and shaped like an oversized kidney bean with jagged edges. The shore is made of small pebbles and chunks of broken boulders and little bits of soggy tree bark. The cold water comes so close to the edge of the earth that it laps at the edges of the woods, softening the thick trunks with repetitive licks. The trees are a dark green and piled so close together that the ground below them is almost completely shaded. From a distance, the green of the needles nearly descends into black but for the few rogue boughs lined with the yellowing needles of fall. Despite the bright light and the lack of clouds, the wind has a crisp, cold undertone beneath the heated overtone of the sun. The smell of baked pine and earth waft for miles, overcome every so often by the pungent stench of a skunk spray. In the light of the sun, almost all the animals hide in the shadows. Just the birds perch on the tree tips, singing their songs. The woods spread up and up and melt into the mountains that surround the lake like the walls of a valley. Behind the initial wood-covered wall is a rugged range that lasts for miles. By the lake, not a road leads in or out. Not a house speckles the carpet of the greenery. The water of the lake is dark blue, nearly black like the trees. Floating on the top of the water are small pieces of algae. Some of the little pieces are pale green, others are dark and bright. They swirl with the ripples and move below, filling the inner world of the lake with drifting green confetti. Nothing disturbs the water but ripples of laughter. A group of five, three men and two women, are near the center of the lake. There are no boats or boards, they stay afloat with only the continuous movement of their arms and legs. Each one is smiling, letting out an occasional yelp or ring of laughter. The deepness of the water does not frighten them. Nor does the floating green life or the deep blue water or the massive expanse of sky above. Each one takes a turn diving deep into the lake, paddling with enthusiasm, going as far as their breath will carry them. Each one swims freely, diving deep into the unknown.

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