Sunday, August 13, 2017

Little Blondie in the Lac

Little Blondie in the Lac

The breeze lifted the hair off my shoulders and reminded me that I was no longer in Dirtville, as it was a comfortable eighty degrees, not the sweltering dry dirt-laced one hundred plus temps that I had become accustomed to in my arid home.

Up in the tallest tree before me was a bald eagle looking directly into my soul. His magnificent head held high as he surveyed his kingdom, looking down upon us peasants.

“Up there!” I said to my nine-year-old daughter who glided towards me in her red kayak.

“Oh wow, an eagle!” She said doing her best to not run into me. Shorty, as she was now known by almost everyone but her classmates who were all considerably shorter than she was, paddled in the one direction she had mastered – forward. I reached out to catch the front of her kayak to lessen the collision.

“What are they doing here in Canada?” She asked noting the irony of America’s symbol enjoying the fresh air in another country. She tried to cover her childish question with a more mature one, “Are they protected here, too?” I glanced from his highness to her clear blue eyes and pink cheeks kissed with new summer freckles as she pushed a section of her thick blonde hair out of her face that spilled over her life vest.

“They are in the US but I’m not sure about Canada.” I responded, knowing we would likely look it up at her insistence when we returned to the comfort of the air-conditioned rental house. This girl had picked up her brother’s love of learning much to my delight.

We paddled quietly around the wilderness exploring Lac St. Charles just outside of Quebec City. For Shorty, it was her second time out in a kayak under her own power, so she was focused on not tipping over. I was focused on the pure bliss of being surrounded by water and breathtaking natural beauty. Another reminder I was no longer in Dirtville, for as you can imagine from the fond nickname of my current home, it is not littered with tall trees or beautiful lakes.

As she worked out the nuance of kayaking, I led us to the deeper part of the lake past the quaint cottages that dotted the shore. While we paddled in peaceful silence, I relived my childhood lakeside life with my grandparents each summer. We pushed through a patch of seaweed and I glanced back to make sure Shorty was handling it well.

“Mom, why is it called seaweed in a lake? Shouldn’t it be called lake weed?” Shorty quipped in her usual inquisitive happy nature. 

I laughed, marveling at the way she always thought things through with logic and reason. It was such a joy to peek in the windows of her mind. I didn’t ruin her clever observation by noting that lake weed sounded like some new form of pot. Instead, I gave her full credit for her clever observation and navigated around a peninsula enjoying the view of the wide-open water imagining what it would be like to own one of the cottages. 

A few paddle boarders passed nearby and they said the obligatory Quebecian “Bonjour.” I was envious of their mode of transportation and such an easy body of water to paddle on. Someday I would try that and hopefully with Shorty.

I cherished this time with my youngest daughter. Shorty still loved spending time with me, and I was going to soak that in as long as humanly possible. I appreciate this more because of the contrast of my other children. 

My son graduates high school this year and he is always busy with his numerous academic and social activities. Not that the boy doesn’t love me, just that he was looking towards his future and approaching adulthood and no longer had much time or interest in his dear old mom. In fact, he turned downtime on the lac with me to study for next year’s Academic Decathlon, preferring the vast open spaces in his mind to the ones the rest of us enjoyed in nature.

Shorty, on the other hand, was my constant companion and I savored every smile, clever wordplay, sniffle, and ornery moment because soon she would be like her teenaged sister and pour on the attitude. Le sigh. It was only fair, I had been a sassy lassie with my mom as a teen. I likely deserved every criticism and snarky comment purely as payback for giving the same to my mom.

I pushed that aside and in this blissful moment, I focused all of my attention on Shorty. It was a magnificent feeling to share another first with her, one that I wish I’d savored more completely when my older two were this age. Back then I had been hopped up on caffeine, plucking the baby food out of my hair, chasing three kids around and adjusting to Dirtville. I am just glad they are all turning out to be such great young adults and look forward to any time they will give me.

I turned around to watch my Shorty paddling hard against a gust of wind, looking quite satisfied with her lot in life having mastered a new skill and an early love of all things water. She was the picture of summer bliss with the freedom of a day ready to be filled with adventure and thoughts of a confined classroom all but a distant memory. I wish I could give her that joy every day but like the rest of us, the thrill of adventure would soon become ordinary. It is the hard work over the cool winter months that make these moments so glorious. 

Today we have a new place to explore, a new skill mastered, and someone special to share it with. For me, these are life’s greatest joys all wrapped up in my love of the water with the bright sunshine on my shoulders. There is no better joy to experience in this short and busy life. 

If you like my writing please check out my other water blogs and if you enjoy fiction I have three books out for your stormy time-travel loving pleasure. 

My books are available here:


Stealing Time: and only 99 cents in the UK site on Amazon this week.

Shattering Time: