What Lies Beneath

So much happens beneath the surface.

Trips to the lake for the year: 1

Hours spent visiting with my parents and sister yesterday: 9

Words written in my novel since Monday: 0

I love the water and feel grumpy if we’re near water of any depth and I can’t get in.

I spent a fair amount of time at local lakes as a kid. My dad had the sailing bug, and we would take our sailboat out as often as he could get physically motivated.

My favorite part of sailing was stretching out on the bow and staring up past the sail at the puffy clouds in the piercingly blue sky.

My mother’s favorite part was reliving the Capsizing Incident of 1981 wherein various beloved objects like her new Tretorns with yellow swishes were dumped into the bottom of Lake Lanier, never to be seen again.

These days, my husband and I don’t have a boat. But we have something better: friends who have a boat. We were invited to join them for a day of jetskiing and swimming and generally lounging around the lakeshore.

My rule: never turn down an invitation to a beach house or lake property. Never.

I’m such a Water Person that I forget others don’t share my passion. Friends of mine have expressed their fears of lake and ocean swimming. I get it to a point, because I’m not a camping kind of person, and some of the fears overlap. But water is involved here, people! Water!

Here are their fears:

1. You can’t see the bottom, and there might be something weird lurking there. Unless you live in Australia or Florida, the worst you’ll probably come up against is an old tire or a bored catfish. (I would love to see a Far Side cartoon about catfish plotting to scare humans.)

2. Fish pee in the water, and your mouth is going in the water. Have you eaten a Twinkie ever in your life? Much worse, my friend. Much worse.

3. There is no chlorine to clean the water. This is true. Chlorine is our friend, and I’m quite fond of pools. However, I’ll take my chances with nature. It’s been around a while… probably longer than chlorinated pools.

4. There are bugs. Yeah. I don’t like bugs much either.

5. A creature akin to the Loch Ness Monster may lurk in Lake _____. My parents used to watch the TV show, “In Search Of.” It had spooky music and pseudo-scientific leanings. They watched it when I was heading to bed, and I caught glimpses of the intro: images of the Loch Ness Monster. It spooked me, but I always secretly wished they would find some big, herbiverous creature in some lake, somewhere. It hasn’t happened yet, and I also never got a visit from E.T., so my life has been full of disappointments.

Oceans and lakes seem to bring out our biggest natural fears, next to death and the dark… we can’t tell what lies beneath the glossy surface. We have video now to show the underwater worlds, but those of us who jump in the waves or bump over them in jetskis are only touching the surface. I think that’s the part I love about water. We don’t really know what’s under there when we jump in. How exciting is that?

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15 thoughts on “What Lies Beneath

  1. crubin says:

    Oceans are fascinating and scary at the same time, aren’t they? Or any large body of water, for that matter. I’m kind of in the camp that gets grossed out by what might be lurking there–water snakes come to mind. I’m more likely to enter the ocean than a lake, but if it’s hot enough, give me a floaty device, and I’m there. 🙂

    By the way, I love your writing style–breezy and humorous. The kind that seems effortless to write, which means it no doubt takes lots of work. But your words are very fluid on the brain, if that makes sense.

    And don’t despair. My word count on my WIP this week is equal to yours. 😦

  2. jmmcdowell says:

    I’ll stay close to shore in the ocean—I don’t mind the feel of sand beneath my feet. But lakes? Ewww. In the Midwest they all have brownish green water and slimy mud and seaweed-like stuff underfoot. Yuck. 🙂

    Oh, did I mention leeches?

  3. Melissa says:

    Ahh…the fear of the unknown…You’re just a tad younger, so I don’t know if you ever experienced the whole “Jaws” terror….Ask most people my or Tracy’s age and it’s not the catfish that freak them out…it’s the shark….We’re going to need a bigger boat…

  4. Water means – Fishing, swimming, scuba, canoeing, sailing, and did I say fishing? I miss the days on Lake Michigan.

  5. David Gentry says:

    You omitted the part about lake sharks in Lake Lanier. I guess you didn’t believe it then either.

    I am drawn to the fluidity of water and air. Sailing and flying are great experiences in my life. And fishing with my dad almost every Saturday in the bayous of southern Louisiana, the Everglades, the Thousand Island country, Biscayne Bay, and the Florida Keys. Learning to fly was one of the greatest experiences of my life and a dream come true. I did not even dare to dream of flying when I was a kid because such a dream was just too unreal. Only when I became an adult could I begin to dream that big, and when our second child finished college I began flight lessons. They were even better than I imagined. If you dream of learning to fly, find a way to make the dream come true. You will not regret it.

  6. 4amWriter says:

    We own a lakehouse and the kids love swimming and boating and tubing. The yucky stuff on the bottom is no big deal with water shoes. Leeches are a problem at the beginning of the season because no one uses the water over the winter, obviously. Just rake up the sand in the shallow part of the lack and they’ll swim away.

    However, we do have a mysterious creature that lurks beneath the surface… 🙂

    • annewoodman says:

      Ooooh. I love lake houses! I don’t remember ever encountering leeches, but it would definitely be off-putting!

      Let me know if you find a Loch ____ Monster in your lake! I’ll want to come up and investigate and take pictures for my blog!

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