August 7, 2009: East Traverse Bay, 8:00 am
I walk past the high-tech RVs and campers, and smile to myself. I hear my father’s voice in my head:
“Hmph. That’s not camping. Camping is waking up with a stick in your back and a crick in your neck, smelling like campfire smoke for days on end, and awkwardly peeing outside in front of raccoons. That’s camping.”
I laugh, wondering if that’s really what he’s say or what I’d say. I am never sure anymore. Being up north simply makes me ache for my family. Images of my mother washing breakfast dishes in a well-worn blue tub flash through my mind as I walk towards the beach in the slowly stirring silence of the morning. Who could sleep in when there is air like this to be breathed in, when there are miles like this on which to stretch your legs, when there is a God who beckons me in the voice of the gentle waves on the sand, saying “Come, come, come, come.”
I walk down to the edge of the water and begin walking, watching the lake hungrily lap up my footprints behind me. The water sweeps silently over the landscape, like indigo shadows stealing quietly across the lake and breaking on the shore. The water is so clear and I watch, mesmerized by the drifts of sand carved out by the waves, like the folds of an old man’s face whose wise wrinkles have known thousands of secrets.
The beach is quiet this morning, peppered with a few other early morning walkers and runners that pass quickly and disappear into the distance. I walk on and on, breathing intentionally, trying to empty the bundles of thoughts buzzing around my head. I can feel Him this morning, walking a few paces behind me, smiling.
“Even when I try to practice silence, I can’t stop writing in my head,” I mumble out loud. “Sorry.”
I stop to watch the sleepy waves roll over my feet, and my heart compresses with my love for this place and this moment. Water, in its visercal and naked honesty, always brings me back to my center. I want to stay here always, hearing these sounds, inhaling these smells, being in this Presence that reminds me who I am.
Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3: 21-23