A day at the lake

July 19, 2015


Today, I hurled myself into the world like a shark who had recently watched a Woody Allen movie.

I woke up late, last night’s pajama bottoms became this morning’s yoga pants. While looking for a shirt, I gulped a half cup of two day old coffee. I brought the other half with me when I headed over to support a dear friend teaching her first strength training class. 

I thought I could lurk in the background, play with playlist, squat a few times and be done with it. I was there for support. 

I rowed, curled, lunged, squatted, pulled and pushed. Can I tell you what a fabulous job she did? She made me do all that- on half a cup of coffee

Home. I had made plans to head out to Ponkapoag pond with my friend, her three kids, my daughter, my son and two of his friends. 

There was only time for a quick conversation about who likes mayonnaise, who wished I’d bought salami instead of ham, who thought cookies for lunch was a really good idea, and who thought we didn’t have enough worms or marshmallows.

When it was announced it was time to load up the car, everyone under the age of forty had an urgent need to use the bathroom.

There was fishing equipment, snacks,  drinks, lunch, swimsuits, goggles, reading material, three cans of insect repellent, jackets, extra fishing equipment, worms, marshmallows, in case the fish don’t like the worms, and changes of clothes in case someone fell into the lake before putting on their swimsuit. 

In other words, no time for coffee. So I hopped in car. Last nights pajamas and this mornings yoga pants became today’s hiking shorts.

We made it by noon. Everyone was hungry from watching my friend and me pack the car. 

An hour at the grocery store, 10 minutes discussion, 15 minutes of prep, everything was consumed in about 5 minutes. Truth, Katy and I were done in 2. My friend took her son to the lake to swim. I told the leftovers for a hike in the bogs.

When we got back to the dock, I was tired and hot. My son and his friends were fishing about 20 yards away. I was happy to settle in a beach chair and listen to the boys while they fished. Colin is fourteen. when I catch a glimpse of him, I usually ask him why I never see him any more. To which he responds-

“I have a life. I have friends. You’re my mom.” 

It was easy to listen to them; no one had told them that fishing is a sport of quiet and meditation.

They were laughing, and yelling, and telling stupid stories that seemed to have no beginning or ending. 

I was enjoying them but I was sharing the dock with one woman doing a water color, two little girls braiding each others hair, and a gentleman trying to nap under a large book.

I walked over and said- “Boys, you have to keep it down.”

Colin looked up at me, and smiled.

“Mom, I have to run something by you,” he smiled again.

“Colin, I don’t think you should tell her.”

“I have to tell her. She’s not stupid, you know. We have to bring them in the car.”

I beamed for minute. My son told one of his friends that  I’m not stupid.

Then I caught it-

“Colin, what are you talking about? Who are you bringing to the car and why doesn’t your friend want me to know?

“Mom, be quiet. You are embarrassing me. Everyone is looking at us!”

This statement from a boy who made fart sounds with his hands so loud they woke up the gentleman sleeping under the really big book.

Long story short, and it is a very, very long story that I don’t think I will ever truly understand, my son and his friends had kept six of the fish they’d caught. These fish were swimming around in a very large bucket. The boys wanted to transport them from Ponkapoag Lake to a pond in the cemetery where we live.

While we negotiated, Colin kept looking in the bucket. At one point, he bent over, frowned. He scooped up a fish and brought it over to the lake where he bent over and placed it gently in the water.

“We don’t want to hurt them, Mom. We just need to bring a couple to Dead Man’s Pond. It’s only a few minutes down the road.”

We were at Ponkapoag, a Wildlife Preserve.  I’m pretty certain that it would be universally frowned on to take some of the fish living in Ponkapoag Pond to another pond, just because my fourteen year old son and his two friends thought it was a really, really good idea.

My son was excited.

These days he gets excited about rap music, staying out until 11:30, Arizona Iced Tea, football practice, and being told he can order anything off the menu. 

We negotiated. I agreed to let them take two fish., They promised to never, ever take any more animals, including but not limited to snakes, really cool insects or a wandering goat, away from their home, wherever their home is. Even if the animal asks politely and the visit is only temporary. 

When we got to the graveyard, all three boys hopped out of the car. They walked as fast as they could to the edge of the pond, carrying the bucket between the three of them. They lifted the fish, and placed them in the water, one at a time. They all leaned over the water. Thirty seconds later, Colin turned around and gave me a thumbs up. The fish had survived the journey.

I took a picture when they weren’t looking. From behind, leaning over the pond, they look like they are about ten years old, looking for frogs, trying to catch a snake, daring each other to go for a swim.

Colin went over to his friends house afterwards. He got home about 11:30. His shoulders were down. I asked him what they’d done with the rest of their night.

“Just hung out, mom. Nothing much going on.”

It’s a Saturday night. Colin and Steve are at the age where they know that Saturday nights are supposed to be wild and crazy, on Instagram and Snapchat it looks like everyone is having an amazing time being wild and crazy.

Colin and Steve were watching tv in the basement.

In Woody Allen’s movie, Annie Hall, Alvy Singer told Annie that relationships are like sharks, if they don’t keep moving, they die.

That may be true about relationships, though I don’t think I’d ask Woody Allen for advice about love.

But people aren’t like sharks. 

it’s important to sit still sometimes, eavesdrop on your teenagers, catch a fish, read a book, watch television with a friend.

It’s important to be okay with sitting still, but that takes time to figure out.


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