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?