It’s been 12 years since I’ve lived on Lake Waramaug. My family and I had discovered the joys of pedaling down the length of our driveway to our dock. The sudden view of the water outstretched right behind our mailbox never dulled, even when it contained only bills. What began as a chance to buy a rag tag cottage nestled between two pinnacles (how could we not fall in love with a place on the map called “Pinnacle Valley?”) and quickly flip it, soon became a family destination then forever home. The hills and water soothed. Even after my grown sons left to move cross country I often spoke to them from our docked boat, as though I could simply journey across the water to California to visit, where they would be surrounded by the movie posters left over from their childhood. The road around the lake is full of often harrowing twists and rewards for those who take its turns with both caution and fortitude. In the Spring of COVID our family was unearthed as people around the world were dying and we were also mourning the sudden fissure of my marriage.
Many days I climbed my house’s crooked stairs simply to just keep moving- leaning on its black bannister remembering the days when I breezily painted over its scoffed marks from old guests with a black sharpie. How I wished I could fill in the new holes in my new life as easily. One morning a storm danced madly around the lake felling a tree across my entrance, as if daring me to both leave and stay. By the time the leaves fully turned, the trunk had been broken down for firewood. My ascent up and down the stairs grew easier though never lighter: a forever phantom limb was on my shoulders, impossible to be fully ground to sawdust. When I first came to the lake, how could I possibly know how its many undulations would alter my own linear landscape? How literally across from my own dock a new partnership awaited at the end of another dock? A beacon I could never have seen until it was time. It was just across water that sometimes felt as outstretched as an ocean, or as easy to leap over as a rain puddle. It all depended on how you looked at it: a valley beneath two pinnacles. Or a pinnacle overlooking a valley.