May 14, 2010 § 2 Comments
We were sitting on an old jetty on the neighbor’s property, listening to the blackbirds, and watching the lake.
The sky was overcast, a white low blanket with no discernible individual clouds. It wasn’t cold. There was no wind. The lake reflected the whiteness of the sky, and sharp-edged spruces were mirrored on its flat surface without a ripple to distort them. On the opposite bank, the trees were blue and soft, tiny in the distance. Between them and us: water. Flat, clear, deep.
I said, “This is really beautiful.”
Jørgen raised his eyebrows and said, “What, the lake? It’s just an ordinary lake.”
An ordinary lake.
I thought of my childhood. We had one lake. We admired it greatly. We enjoyed the luxury of swimming in a large body of water without getting salt in our eyes. It was a major vacation destination. Everyone camped on its shore, often several times a year. The lake, our one lake, was further proof of the fantastic natural diversity of our country. We knew songs about the lake. The lake was our pride. We regarded it as a national treasure. It was also our national reservoir, the primary source of water for all of us, and it was always shrinking. We went to war once because the Lebanese threatened to divert the river which flowed into our beloved lake. When it rained, we thought of our lake filling up and hoped the rain would continue . On the radio, we anxiously heard: water levels have dropped again below The Red Line. Water levels lower than they have been in years. Government-sponsored ads everywhere saying, “Don’t waste a drop!”
When you live with one lake your whole life, seeing a country full of lakes is like visiting a paradise, or walking in a dream. So many lakes, some never camped by or even seen for years. No songs written about them, no fearful measuring of their depths. No lives depend on them for survival. Lakes everywhere, un-admired, ordinary.