LAKE HOUSE


Some mornings I wake up with a particular kind of curiosity. Today, the heaviness lifts from my eyelids as narrow streams of light peep through the slit in my curtains and fall across my face...and I realise that this is such a morning.

As I slowly draw my duvet across my sleepy legs, the crisp air meets my skin and turns it to goose flesh. I lift my limbs up in the air, admiring my feet as I point, flex and circle them round and round. I drop them back down onto the mattress with a bounce. WAKE UP! LET'S GO! I draw the curtains open and follow the dew drops with my finger tips as they travel sluggishly down my window pane. Adventure is the order of the day.

Today is a Saturday and I have nothing to do. It isn't very often that this mood strikes me at such opportunistic timing. I pull on my clothes and hiking boots. As I sit on my bed tying my shoelaces, time  stands still for a moment as my mind travels back to that triumphant feeling I felt when I learnt to tie them for the first time. It isn't spring just yet and the chance of rain lurks around every corner. So, I pack an extra jersey and a raincoat for extra measure. I put some snack into my backpack with a bottle of water. I remember Mom and Dad telling me over dinner that they would be out all morning. I leave a note for them just in case...I wouldn't want them to worry. I step outside the back door and gasp as the icy breeze hits my face. I love that feeling. Big inhale. Even bigger exhale. Off I go.

I cross the back garden, duck down through the hole in the fence and head towards the foot of the hill behind our little neighbourhood. To be fair it's a bit bigger than a hill. I've never actually had the determination to climb all the way to the top. As kids, my friends and I would climb up for about fifteen minutes, get too lazy to climb any further and just stretch out on a rock and sing all our favourite songs at the top of our lungs until we had all the dogs in the neighbourhood barking like crazy. Come to think of it, I don't actually know what's on the other side. Today is the day I find out!

It takes a good hour and a half to reach the top. That, and every ounce of willpower I can muster. For the first hour there is a clear pathway I can follow, but then it just ends. Strange. I stop to gather my breath, eat a banana and sip on some water. I need all the energy I can get to reach the summit. An ominous grey cloud is rolling in from the north. I better hurry. Maybe I can reach the top and get back home before it starts to pour. I put my raincoat on just in case.

The last 30 minutes are a blur. The cloud moves in faster than I expected and suddenly rain is drumming down on my hood. I have to watch my every step as I forge my own pathway over thorny brush and in between crops of boulders. I finally reach the top. My chest bubbles up with excitement as I move across the flattened peak to look over at the other side. As a walk, I see a large expanse of navy blue water stretching out ahead of me. The more I walk the more water I see. But what else is there? The incessant rain obstructs my view.

After 10 minutes of walking with my head down, the rain eases off. I lift my head as I reach the edge of a cliff, and I can see it all. Water for miles and miles. And just beside the water's edge sits a little white cabin with a puff of smoke dancing out from the chimney. My curiosity is rewarded. But I'm exhausted. Perhaps one day I will scale the side of the mountain and go meet the person who lives within its walls. For now I am quite happy to sit here, legs dangling off the edge of the cliff-face, eating last night's leftovers and imagining how cosy it must be inside that little lake house. And how much pleasure its inhabitants must get from sitting beside the window, gazing out over the deep blue waters ahead of it.

THE END