The first days in our new home, alone, on the lake were wonderful. The family had helped us with all of the heavy lifting of moving in and they had all traveled back to their respective homes. That is when the peace arrived. It was winter and there was a light dusting of snow sprinkled here and there on the ground. The overwhelming quiet in the forest was unreal. I could hear every little bug whir by, every fish splash in the water… I could even hear the sound of the fog slowly woosh by.
The days that followed were magical – and still are. We laid our heads on our pillows at night as the Canadian geese flew overhead, honking and cheering on their leader. We woke to the sound of them flying back out to the meadow for the day to swim and eat and play and mate. The Great Blue Herons swooped down throughout the day to hunt for fish along our dock and bridge out to the water. The stark white egrets flew gracefully through the air in stark contrast against the lush, green backdrop of the trees. Sweet sparrows would flit and flutter about over the lake, snatching up bugs in the evenings. Hordes of ducks would fill our cove, ducking their heads in and out of the lake as they ate the tall lake grass. We would also come to know a little deer family that lived on our part of the lake. With their soft, tan fur and their big doe eyes, they are the sweetest things I’ve ever seen. And so strong! They bound up the steep mountain side as easily as you or I walk across a nicely paved, flat path.
It would rain for a few days and then the days would clear up to overcast and then sunny. I loved watching the rain and learning to classify the different types of rain that occurred. The soft, misty rain that fell like light, wispy snowflakes. The light sprinkle rain that dripped and dropped at a random pace, causing me to wonder if it were really raining at all. The steady, yet still soft rain that fell at an even pace, wetting everything quickly that it came in contact with. The heavy rain with sheets of water filling the sky as far as I could see. And the rain that sounded like hail – the drops were so large, falling from the sky like quarters, hitting the deck with their fierceness. Occasionally the rain would be joined by moments of hail ranging from tiny pebbles to large marbles. The hail would fall fast and furious but never lasted more than fifteen minutes. We would watch the weather change throughout the day with fascination. Our old home didn’t have as many weather changes in an entire year as our new home now had in one day. It was magnificent!
It was January and it was cool, but not cold – not the sort of cold that the high desert gets. No freezing winds or chill from snow on the mountains. It was typically between the mid-forties and mid-fifties each day, falling into the low forties at night. We would go out on the pedal boat most evenings, even if we had to bundle up. We would pedal out a bit into the lake and just float… listing to the sounds of the lake and the water and the air and the roaring sea nearby.
We began exploring our closest surroundings bit by bit. We drove over to the beach in Winchester Bay and drove around looking at the dunes. The dune complex on the coast just blows me away with their massive sand dunes forested with pines and filled with lakes spotted about throughout them. I had grown up experiencing the magnificence of sand dunes – the tall mountains of perfectly sifted sand – but I had never experienced them near water and never with trees and forests on them. It’s an incredibly unique place.
Each time we would explore away from our home, we would enjoy our little journey back home. Up the windy road through the forest, surrounded by lake on either side. Down the gravel road as it turns and twists back and forth down to the bottom, where the meadow filled with white Appalachian horses, Canadian Geese, ducklings, Egrets, Great Blue Herons, and elk would astound our senses each time we passed it. Up more gravel road and onto our private road, past every house on our road to the very end – the last house on the road. The true end of the road…
“May all your trails be crooked and winding, leading to the most amazing view.”
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