What does summer sound like?
Well, how appropriate. We’re at the lake, and I’ve decided to blog about what I hear. Cradling my laptop, I head through the kitchen porch toward the open deck when there’s a shout from inside. “Don’t let the screen door slap!” I won’t tell you whose voice it is lest I incriminate him, but suffice it to say that, after many years of resolving issues, I know how to handle the guy.
I let the screen door slap … softly. Out of defiance? No. Out of sheer necessity. The slap of a screen door is, to me, the essence of summer. It conjures up carefree days spent running in and out of the house, which is what so often happens at a lake house.
Here in New Hampshire, we call lake houses ‘camps.’ We’ve had ours for fifteen years, ever since Lake News came out, actually, and how lucky we are. Please know that I never take this place for granted. My favorite season is the dead of winter, when we drive down the old dirt road with enough food, books, and firewood to last the weekend.
But this is summer. That screen door is done slapping, and I’m sitting in an Adirondack rocker on a deck overlooking the lake. Visually, it’s beautiful. But I’m listening. Listening. Listening. It’s a game I play with my grandkids; I take them out here with me and ask, “What do you hear?” Everyday life is so busy and loud that we don’t often focus on sounds. But sounds enhance an experience, and I want their visit with us as rich as can be. Hence, the game.
What do I hear now?
I hear birds. I can’t see them; they’re lost in the pine needles, hemlock branches, and birch leaves of the woods surrounding the house. But they are truly lyrical this morning. Same with the chip-chip-chip-chip of chipmunks.
I hear a breeze. Feel it, too. Both sound and feel are gentle, healthy, welcome after a too-long stretch of stifling heat.
I hear kids. Love this sound. Is there anything happier than the squeals of water-play? Even the splash of bodies hitting the water from rocks, docks, and boats has its own charm.
Speaking of boats, there they are. Speedboats, fishing boats, jet skis – close my eyes, and the difference between them is marked.
Oh. There’s a loon. That mournful sound was my first love at the lake.
Suddenly now I hear a plane. They don’t come around often, and the sound isn’t as welcome as the others I’ve mentioned, but at least this one isn’t a jet. It’s either a little prop thing taking tourists on a flyover or a seaplane looking for a place to land.
Plane’s gone. Boats have moved out into the bay. Kids are in for breakfast. Or lunch.
And there it is, the voice of the lake itself, organic and unembellished, as it laps the shore. That sound and I go back a long way. I spent seven childhood summers as a girls’ camp in Maine; having worked my way up to the oldest bunk, I spent the last of those summers with eighteen other girls in a lodge (named, appropriately, The Lodge) away from the other bunks and literally six feet from the lake. We fell asleep every night to that lapping sound. Woke up to it, too. That was the only requirement I had when my husband and I were looking to buy a lake house. I had to be able to hear that lapping sound from time to time.
Feeling the peace of it now, I click SAVE, re-cradle my laptop, and head back into the house. I open the screen door, pause, pass through and let it slap shut behind me – because, sorry hubby, but aside from the sough of lake water against the shore, nothing says summer as sweetly as that.
What says it for you?