Monday, June 21, 2010

Within a Quiet Cove


Jennifer snapped this pic of me headed out of our little cove into Lake Seed.

Last week we took vacation. Jennifer found this great cabin in the north Georgia foothills along Lake Seed. Lake Seed is a small, snakecular waterway along what used to be the Tallulah River fed by Lake Burton, the more popular getaway. But Lake Seed was perfect, a great vacation spot.

The first two nights Jennifer’s parents joined us. Fred got to fish with the girls and joined me in the evenings for gin and tonics with my Bombay Sapphire. But they left early Thursday, a couple of hours before my parents arrived, spent the day and had lunch at the boat house before sweeping my daughter and her cousin (who had joined us on the trip up) back to the swimming pool, golf cart rides (and, most importantly, cellular coverage) of their house while Jennifer and I got the last night and following day alone up there.

It was very nice.

This was Charlie’s first vacation trip with us. Parks had gone in the past. Nala never goes. Charlie did well though there were a couple of very willful moments when he ventured beyond our control. Approaching the people down at the public boat ramp, near the highway, with a car coming in the opposite direction. But, he came back. And Jennifer leashed him until he got to the boat house. Charlie hates the heat of day and sought every shade he could lay in, preferring the cabin a/c to the boat house, but suffering through it with us anyway.

I got up early each morning, making coffee except for Wednesday morning when Jennifer’s mom beat me up. She and I chatted briefly over a first cup while everyone else slept. Then I went out to the boat house. The cabin was located on the opposite side of the road from the lake. You had to cross the highway to get to the boat house.

The fact the cabin was not directly on the lake might have been a negative for some people. But, for us it was a plus. There was a wonderful cold, clear spring fed mountain creek running from behind and along side our cabin down to where it emptied into the lake from under the curve in the road where we walked down to the boat house. The creek cascaded down in numerous small waterfalls and sounded so tranquil. The cabin had the creek all to itself. There was a great view of the waterfalls from the window at the kitchen sink. So, near the cabin we had this deep mountain effect while across the road there was the private cove effect. Perfect really.

A typical waterfall in the creek alongside our cabin. I waded here several times in the hot sun. It was a little over shin deep here.

In our immediate vicinity our cove opened into Lake Seed and occasionally boats or ski jets would pass through. But, far more often (being the middle of the work week) we had the cove to ourselves. There was a public ramp in our cove but few boats put in or pulled out there. In the half dozen or so boat houses and cabins in our view there was no human sound. They were empty. Thus, our space was largely private.

My daughter and her cousin enjoyed the paddle boating and tanning in the sun. As I mentioned, they fished one afternoon with Jennifer’s dad. They swam near the dock a good bit and went out with me in the canoe a couple of times. There was a rap station in semi-static constantly going on the radio at the dock. They stayed up late watching movies and giggling. They slept until almost noon each day and complained a bit that we didn’t have cell coverage at the cabin.

When Jennifer went into the local town for groceries one afternoon they were anxious to go along just so they could text on their phones. We had our laptop and there was an internet connection at the cabin. This enabled Jennifer and I to stay in casual touch with work situations and emails, which was enough for me. But, for the girls, it was too primitive after a few days.

Sometimes my daughter thinks her parents are Neanderthals.

There were many highlights during the trip. None was more special than getting out in the canoe in early morning just as the sun hit the tops of the trees in the cove. The water was cool, still and misty. One morning Jennifer joined me but usually I got to go out alone and drift quietly in the middle of the lake. Birds were in abundance but otherwise it was peaceful. Occasionally, an unseen plop in the water suggested some fish momentarily surfacing nearby.

We snacked and ate the whole time, of course. Jennifer whipped together a wicked banana pudding that didn’t last very long. Two bowls of it sufficed as my dinner one night.

I took a nap after lunch every day. During the heat of the afternoons I read either under the ceiling fans of the boat house or in the spacious, rustic, wood paneled living room of the cabin until about beer-thirty when it was time for gin and tonics with more snacking. Sometimes I went wading in the creek, the icy cold water a nice contrast with the hot sun.

Another highlight was the frog sounds at night out at the boat house. I counted 6-8 different kinds of frogs. A whippoorwill joined in. Evening was a special time out on the lake. The light slowly faded, shifting the colors toward reds then darker blues. The transition between bird sounds to frogs was special and contemplative.

On the promenade of the boat house, high above the level of the lake, feeling tan from being in the sun that day, I saw Mars shining over head, one of the first lights in the night sky you can see in clear air in twilight. It isn’t dark yet and still its brilliance proclaims itself. Seeing Mars and hearing the whippoorwill, distance, nearness, feeling the space of all things.

Our boat house in early morning, the lake misty and still.

While at Lake Seed we saw a lot of wildlife. Turkeys visited the cabin. What was probably a groundhog (we could not get close enough to tell for certain) enjoyed eating the plentiful clover in the back yard by the creek. Of course we saw a lot of brim in the water and several trout. The brim nested in the shallows all around the boat house.

Turkeys on the edge of the woods near our cabin.

By Friday afternoon, there was a considerable up tick in the level of activity on the lake. Time to pack up and get back home to catch the sunset and watch the Braves beat the Royals after taking two out of three from the Tampa Bay Rays, who possessed baseball’s best record at the time. Jennifer and I toasted the win from our front porch following the two and a half hour drive back. We listened to the first katydids in our woods for this summer. I read some more and went to sleep after midnight. Thoughts drifting.

I am in the canoe. I am in the middle of a lake that snakes through a former valley. Flooded about 75 feet higher out where the river once flowed, the deep artery of this strong tributary out of Lake Burton.

A light breeze is blowing on the flatness of the lake. There is a natural rhythm. The canoe is circling, turning quietly. I hear birds in the tree line to my south, the tree line opposite my cabin by maybe ¾ quarters of a mile of open space. Lots of birds out in those woods. The sky is bright and cloudless, the sun is rising but it only hits the top of the tree line to my south. I watch the color.

There is a plop of water now and then. Sometimes the plop is a trout coming to the surface and checking out a fallen leave or stick still floating, like me above the old river. Meandering along.

This is vacation. I look back to the north and see my boat house, over five minutes rowing back. I near the south shore. There is a lot of mountain laurel either blooming or just past its peak of blooms. Jennifer’s mother told me during coffee one morning that it was past the peak. Whatever. They accent the mountain stream around my cabin so well. I close my eyes. The water softly splats against the lightly rocking canoe. It is a glorious day.

1 comment:

Jon Barnwell said...

Jennifer's mom beat you up? Know what you mean but it took a sec!