By the time Lisa, Kory and I made it back to the boat dock it was past lunch time and we were famished.
I had made two separate lunches - a cooler for the guys and one for the two legged and four legged girls, and all three of us hungrily dove into the cooler in search of food and drinks.
The day had begun very cool but by early afternoon it was sunny and very warm, and on this beautiful day we had the entire camping area, boat dock, boat ramp and inlet to Mud Lake to ourselves.
Family. Sun. Warm. Our own private lake.
It doesn't get much better than that.
With one eye on Kory (who was obviously greatly enjoying the freedom of being off leash) I dove into sandwiches and a bottle of water.
By this time it was Wednesday.
Everyone had arrived on Monday within two hours of each other.
Lisa and Mick would be staying until late Saturday night, but Chris had booked a flight back to Calgary for Thursday evening.
He would be leaving the next day, and as I sat on the picnic table overlooking the lake, and while I watched my puppy and listened to Lisa happily ramble on, and while I ate a sandwich, I could feel that familiar feeling I always get whenever my son is about to leave.
That vague sense of loss and sadness that does not dominate, but which always seems to float and weightlessly swirl in the air around me as I wander through life.
He was having a really good time on this trip.
I could tell.
He was laughing often. Looked relaxed. Was obviously enjoying his time with these two men from the United States and Australia.
He looked better than I had seen him in a while and that pleased me.
Today I would enjoy the sight and sound of him.
Would enjoy his beautiful face and easy laugh and the sound of his voice.
The next day I would reach up to throw my arms around his neck, would kiss him goodbye, would begin to walk away and then turn to kiss him again.
As I had done so many times before.
I would miss him.
And wait for him to return to me.
And every night I would silently beg and implore whatever powers propel the universe (the powers that had so violently turned their back on me in the past), pleading with them to keep this boy safe.
As I finished my sandwich and half listened to my sister and watched over my puppy, I knew that at least in that moment my son was safe and happy, and life was OK......................
A few minutes after finishing lunch, I heard the guys in the inlet.
Walking down to the boat dock I stood beside Kory and watched as three easy-going men slowly floated back towards us.
The sun was strong by this time, Chris (with his shaved head) had no hat, and the guys had decided to come into the shade for a while before heading back out again................
Can you tell that everyone was in relax mode??..............
Heading back out again.
As they pulled out I could hear them all laughing and telling stupid jokes.
And I was again amazed at just how well these three virtual strangers seemed to have hit it off.
And I smiled inwardly at their laughing, lame joke telling selves.....................
Picture above: Trees reaching for the sky
Picture below: Trees reflected in the lake..................
After watching the guys heading out again, I looked over at Lisa and she was already reading her book and was in full-on relax mode.
It was good to see.
Over the past two weeks Lisa and Mick had driven from northern Queensland to Sydney, spent a night in South Korea, spent a week in Canada and then flown down to Idaho.
After they left us they would spend a day and a half on buses traveling first to Seattle and then up to Vancouver where they would meet up with their fellow travelers before picking up a cruise ship to Alaska.
I regarded my younger sister for a moment, pleased to see her taking this time to regroup.
Turning towards my sweet dog, I called to her and together we headed off to wander around the camp ground and take a few pictures......................
Kory was young and restless when we first got her.
There was no way that she would have just stayed within eye and ear shot of me back then, but as I watched my puppy wander with me at Mud Lake I loved that I could finally let her loose with confidence.
A little confidence.
We wandered first out to the fishing pier, back the way we had come, across the camp ground and then partially around the shore of the inlet.
At one point my dog and I saw the three fishermen (still quietly laughing and joking and sharing lame jokes) tossing out lines from under the shade of a large tree.
I watched them for a few minutes, turned and walked back the way we had come..........................
2 hours later Kory was intently watching the approaching fishing boat..................
Perhaps the truth depends on a walk around the lake.............Wallace Stevens