As we approach the dog days of August, I thought I would share some of my summer adventures. My family cottage on Lake George in the Adirondack mountains of New York allows me the opportunity to completely disconnect from the outside world for a few weeks,. It is a treasured time for myself and my girls, a step back in time so to speak in this digital age. We have no cell service, no television and no wi-fi. It is a true vacation to relax the mind, body and soul. (Wifi and cell service is a 15 minute drive, which I made a few times to check email.) I treasure the peace being disconnected allows me to have. Even my teenage daughter looks forward to not having a cell phone – which is miraculous, no texts, no facebook for a few weeks. She sends out the “don’t text me, I won’t have service,” message out about an hour before we lose service.
We arrive and an immediate sense of calm comes over us and we feel like we are in another world. The sounds of the lake and the mountains haven’t changed in the all the years I have been going there. It is amazing how loud some animals sound as they creep through the dead leaves on the mountainside. The lapping of the water against the rocks at the water’s edge offers a tranquil sound to enjoy each day.
My girls enjoy a freedom they have nowhere else in the world. The community we live in is small, so the girls can walk everywhere they need to go. I see them in the morning for breakfast before they head off to morning camp. Even my 15 year old still loves going to camp to see all her summer friends, for it is there where the plans for the day take shape. We have lunch together at the beach and then they spend the afternoons playing in the lake, kayaking, tubing or sailing. They enjoy just being able to go do whatever they want with their friends. My 11 year old said she just likes to be able to walk around by herself with her friends and if they decide to go kayaking, they can.
I spend the afternoons sitting by the water’s edge with my pencils and paper sketching out new designs. The creativity just flows when I can listen to the water splashing against the rocks. Maybe I need to add one of those desktop water gardens to my studio space. I was able to design several new geometric patterns that will become belts, purse straps, flip flops and even a new style of needlepoint shoes (still in development).
The evenings are quiet and cool. The cool mountain air makes fleece a friend on most nights. The mountains are dark and the stars are amazing. Lake George is the only place I have ever been lucky enough to see the Northern Lights. I have never seen more stars then I see at the lake. It is fun to search for all the constellations with my girls.
Later in the evening is when the excitement starts. We sleep on a screened sleeping porch. We all eagerly await the nightly visits from our friends, the raccoons! We have tried everything to keep them from our trash cans. It is like an olympic sport for them. One year, we used bungee cords to tightly secure the lids to the trash cans. We thought we were so smart. Not. The raccoons just rolled the cans to each other and into the trees until the cords broke. We brought the cans onto our small screened porch off the kitchen that is our cooler storage area and laundry area. That just brought the raccoon up close and personal. They used their claws like an Exact-O knife and slit the screens and hopped right on in, thankfully we have a locking door with windows to safely watch them. They are meticulous creatures. We have realized that our grandmother was quite wise. She used to make a “trash plate,” from leftovers each night and stuck it out back each night before bed. The raccoons come, eat and move on, leaving our trash alone. The kids love watching them from the bedroom windows and find their food choice fascinating. For instance, the raccoons seem to love pasta with red sauce, but are not fans of wilted spinach salad.
Our days at the lake are treasured because they are a time to reconnect with family and friends. The escape from technology and being constantly connected allows us to enjoy the simple things. We are always sad to leave but spend the year enjoying the pictures we have and the memories we made.