A Lake Geneva Memory

A Lake Geneva Memory

So this is what the nexus of the universe looks like. We’re caught in between at the moment, having long since exhausted the blazing colors and tweedy deliciousness of fall, but still days or weeks away from the arrival of our first transitional snow. It’s a strange time of year, but a peaceful one. The opposite tenure would be those miserable weeks of spring, when nothing is warm enough to be warm, nor cold enough to freeze. It’s a beautiful indifference this November-turning-December thing, and while I like it quite it a bit, I have found myself longing for summer again. I managed to let go of that desire for long enough to enjoy fall, but with a hesitant winter unable to pop the big question, I can’t seem to come to terms with the fact that my summer is long gone, and the next one is so dreadfully far away. This is my hell. My serene, sepia-toned, 38 degree hell.

I think about the summer past- a summer I spent greedily hoarding moments under the Lake Geneva sun, boxing out those who might disturb my binge like so many puppies around a singular feeding bowl. I couldn’t help but tip the bowl of a summer as blue and clear as the summer of 2010 graciously was. I tried to write about it, but my writing fails me in the same way that my photographs fail to capture the vivid images that my eyes effortlessly took and my mind framed. It’s a vicious lust I have for a Lake Geneva summer, and my toes are crinkling and my pudgy jaw is clenched tight in anticipation for the summer of 2011 some 26 long weeks before she arrives. I have a self control problem, I know, but it’s a healthy obsession that results in little more than spent marine fuel, ignored responsibilities, and sunburned skin.

While every summer moment is precious to me, one particular night still stands out. It wasn’t the night that I foolishly bought an overpriced print while aboard the Lady of the Lake for a fundraiser, dressed crisply, with rotund game face on. And it wasn’t a night I didn’t spend sipping beverages at the Lake Geneva Yacht Club clad in white and khaki whilst calling everyone daaahling. I wasn’t plying through the deep blue waters of Geneva at the helm of a Cobalt or a Chris Craft, and I certainly wasn’t prancing around Richard Driehaus’s front lawn pretending that I was fitting in. While Geneva gladly offers all of these blue blood activities, the one night that is stuck in my memory like a half of a popcorn shell is a night I spent on a 14′ Alumacraft with both my son and the fading sun as my only companions.

I wrote about that night the day after it happened, while the feeling of the late afternoon sun on my skin was still tangible. I didn’t have to wrestle with imagery to put myself back on that boat as I do now, for the memory was fresh and vivid. I didn’t realize then that the previous night would be the one night of the entire summer that I’d hold up as the ideal, but I knew I had just been thoroughly immersed in my happy place. As I sit in my office this morning, I can hear the lapping of the water against the metal hull of that old fishing boat, and it sounds to me exactly like a perfect summer. I can strain to feel the way that perfectly tempered sun felt against my back, the way my bacon scented sweat dried on the back of my neck in the soft southwesterly breeze that danced over the water, and the memory is beautiful. I remember the way my hyper self and my equally hyper son both embraced the soothing soundtrack of the waves against the hull and the seagulls over head, and the sounds of laughter coming from the piers where children swam. I remember thinking that it certainly can’t get any better than this, and looking back I’m even more certain in my discernment. It doesn’t get any better than that warm night in July, gently rocking and drifting in the light breeze and pastel sky with my son.

It’s a night like that and the images and feelings and sounds that it can burn into a memory that makes Geneva such a captivating place. It would indeed be nice to be the sort that could afford one of the homes I talked about yesterday, but in order to fully experience everything a Lake Geneva summer is supposed to be, one needs little more than a $1000 boat and a desire to enjoy it. For anyone who feels the need to spend their nights with the crowd where mergers and acquisitions are discussed along with drafts of boats and angles of tack, Geneva affords such options regularly and efficiently. But from my view, Geneva is best at providing moments where fathers and sons of all ages can sit in small fishing boats and drink in the scenery that on a dark day in November seem an eternity away.

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