Two tousled boys roll sleepily out of bed, pull on their clothes quietly and fill their waterproof bag with Costco muffins.
It’s early Monday morning. Very early.
The fog lies heavy on the lake as they push the canoe into the still, mirror-like waters. The shore recedes quickly and is soon hidden in the pressing cloud.
The mirrored surface shows ripples only from where the canoe has passed and the paddles have gently broken it. The boys, hushed reverently in the tabernacle of nature, speak softly and dip their oars gently.
A duck is seen and quickly lost again.
The lake is large, several miles long and maybe a mile wide at it’s widest, so there is plenty for the boys to explore.
And explore they do.
In one finger of the lake they find a rock protruding scant inches above the surface of the water. The shore is nowhere near. The boys stand on the rock, austerely surveying the surrounding water and the unique situation of standing on such a small patch of land surrounded by so much water.
Several hours have passed now and the sun is now burning away the fog. There are others on the lake. Fishermen and kayakers and people with money enough to pleasure boat on Monday now join the boys and their small canoe is rocked in the wake of the madly rushing power boats and early morning skiers.
There is no more mystery to the lake as the fog is no longer shrouding them, instead it is awash with adventure as they must pilot their frail craft across the sparkling and dancing lake through the increasing traffic on this beautifully sunlit morning.
But now time calls. They must return home to continue with the day’s plans.
With deep regret and great satisfaction the boys pull the canoe clear of the water line and return to the house.
Looking back, this is perhaps the most iconic event of my life and I’m not even really sure why.
It was a good morning of young manhood with an acquaintance I’d not really spent much time with before. But we became friends that day, and in the week that followed we were pals.
The freedom and adventure of the canoe, the lake, the fog, and us surmounting all to stand successful in our achievement of adventure are all crystallized in my memory.
I miss that day perhaps more than any other in my life.
I’m glad that day happened and that it’s a good and powerful memory to me.
With my children I hope to create such memories, and yet not be selfish enough to believe they can all be with me. There are many good times for a father to create memories with his children, and yet perhaps even more powerful are the times the father allows his children to make memories on their own.
My dad was nowhere near when I ventured on the lake with my friend, and while I treasure many memories with my dad, he played no part in that particular one.