Hinckley Reservoir was my summer inspiration for a series of blog posts I wrote about the lake dogs which morphed into “Adirondack Lake Dogs,” one of the essays in my book, Love Always Wags Its Tail. This August would have marked our 11th year at Hinckley. Sadly, it’s not to be. The family that owns the cottage we always rented for the first week in August decided to rent it out for a full year rather than relying on one and two week rentals during the summer season. Can’t say I blame them. But,
I’ll miss it.
One of the best things about that first week in August was the take-your-breath away view of Hinckley Reservoir from the open front door of the cottage. I’d stand on the small front porch, looking in: the entrance hall flowed into the living room which merged with the great room boasting a 15 foot ceiling with a back wall of floor-to-ceiling windows. Just outside those windows was a two level, wooden deck. Below the deck was a sloping expanse of a meadow-like lawn that sloped down to the lake. And, for that blissful week, home looked like this:
When I set the scene for the final paragraph of “Adirondack Lake Dogs,” the afternoon looked pretty much like what you see in these two photographs.
Sam hefted a baseball-sized orange ball in the palm of one hand which caught Kiya’s attention.
Kiya watches Sam.
“Her body grows still until the moment that Sam leans into a pitcher’s stance and throws the ball. Kiya takes off, all four legs digging into the soft ground as she powers up the hill. She’s forgotten about the lake which fans out behind her like a flat grey mirror.”
“Adirondack Lake Dogs,” ends as Cassie and Sam run up the wooden steps of the deck to enter the cottage by the sliding glass door and Kiya disappears into the shrubbery, headed for home, the year-round log house next door. A satisfying end to one of those perfect summer days. If you’re a dog person.
Looking back now, what I realize is that “place” is as important to me as the dogs that I write about; that in the early stages of my writing, I rely on place memories regardless of how long I’ve lived there.
That it’s not important if I ever return to one place or another because I can hold it in my heart and in my mind’s eye – that intangible “thing” that I dig into when I want to write about anything.
Remember what Rick Blaine says to Ilsa near the end of Casablanca as he grasps her shoulders, pulls her body close to his, bends his head down and looks deeply into her eyes?
He says, “We’ll always have Paris.” Watching the film, we know that they will probably never see each other again; that for them, Paris will always be memories of that time tied to the love they pledge to each other. A pledge all the more poignant given Rick’s decision to make Ilsa leave Casablanca with her husband.
If we’re lucky, we all have our own Paris. Luckier still, are those of us who have more than one Paris.
How very lucky am I!