The Floating Dock
On a cold winter’s night, it is nice to reflect on summer time memories.
I was fortunate to grow up spending every summer weekend at our family cottage. In my childish perspective, I used to think we drove for hours to get there from our home in the city. I remember sitting in the front seat between my parents; my brothers and sister were in the back seat. There are twelve years between my oldest sister and I, and I cannot recall her ever being in our car with us. But there I sat, baby of the family, between dad and mom, my little head found the comfort of my mom’s shoulder and I was asleep. The cottage was really only twenty minutes away, maybe thirty if there was heavy traffic.
Our cottage was a twin A-frame just like my aunt and uncle’s cottage next door. We shared lakefront access. At the beginning of summer, my dad and uncle would help each other install the docks that laid claim to parking spots for our boats. After they finished with the docks, they grabbed a few other strong men, from cottages nearby, to help them carry the floating dock to the shore. Together they pushed the dock out to the buoys that marked where it would be fastened to bricks at the bottom of the lake. All summer long, the floating dock would ride the waves from the passing boats, as well as be the hub of our swimming adventures.
The floating dock held many rites of passage. It was a big deal to be old enough to swim there, albeit, with the aid of the handed-down orange life vest. Once there, we first learned how to jump off the dock. Pretty standard, but the water looks so far away when you are only three feet tall. The next right of passage was to advance in our swimming abilities and be able to leave the orange life vest at the shore. Without the vest, many more jumps into the water could be practiced and mastered, such as the Jack-Knife, Cannonball, and the all-time favorite, Nestea Plunge.
The mother of all rites of passage was learning how to dive. “First, raise your arms over your head like bunny ears, then clasp your hands like you are praying” my sister instructed. “Bend your knees, look toward the water, and jump making your hands touch the water before any other part of your body hits the water” were the next set of instructions. I looked like a bunny, then clasped my hands in prayer, bent my knees and waited for the count down to spring into action. In unison we said, “One for the money, two for the show, three to get ready, and four to GO!” With that I pushed off. At first, I did not dive, I did a belly-flop instead; the painful teacher in itself. No matter the pain, I climbed the ladder to get back on the floating dock to try it again.
As we grew with the years, the floating dock became a perfect spot to just lay in the sun. The only time to jump in the water was to cool off and lay back down again.
This cold winter night has been warmed with thoughts of summer time and the rites of passage on the floating dock. I think I can speak for my parents, aunt, uncle, siblings, and cousins by saying were truly blessed each summer weekend at the cottage.
Proverbs 27:19 As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart.