It is a quiet place. The house is nestled in the pines, almost on top of the waterfront. The water is fresh, clean and teaming with sunfish who, upon hearing my feet on the dock, rush to me in the hopes that I will have some old bread for them. I might see an old turtle swimming in the waters or hear a duck quacking around the bend. Or, I might hear nothing at all.
I have been coming here my entire life.
It was my grandparents' place, then my bachelorette pad, and now the place my mother calls home. Before I was 18, there was a boys' camp across the way, and I'd wake to hear a voice on the loudspeaker telling the boys what their day held for them. I flirted shyly with them as they canoed on the pond, banging their metal boats into each other as if fighting some primitive war. If any came too close, my grandmother would yell from the second floor windows, "Get away from my granddaughter!" My own personal body guard at 13.
When I lived there alone, I was never afraid. I'd come home late after working in the city, open the door of my car and hear a thud at my feet. Two shiny eyes would be looking at me. It was my neighbor's large black lab who had come to play catch in the darkness. I'd hold the drooly ball between my fingers and play catch for five or ten minutes in the heat of the summer or the freezing cold of winter.
When I swim, I feel the span of generations all around me. I remember swimming up to my grandmother and holding on to her sturdy wrinkly arm. I remember watching my dad diving off the end of the dock and swimming off into the center of the pond. I recall my sister doing bobs in the water. I think of the friends, family and my new husband all swimming in the dark waters after our wedding.
And, now, I see my own children playing in the waters that have soothed me my entire life.
This is a place so special to me, it must remain secret. However, that isn't to say that it is closed to you. Families now walk through the former boys' camp and ignore the "Do Not Enter" signs that lead to a quiet, sandy, no-frills beach area. For the determined, there is a way in. And, if you see me on the other side, wave.