They scattered my ashes into the waters of Mickey Lake, eighty years spent and gone. The flakes danced and blew in the breeze before landing on the surface and disappearing from sight. We buried my husband years ago on a hill that overlooked our home, as he wished. I wanted, in repose, to be one with the beloved lake where I was raised.
As a young woman I couldn’t wait to grow up and leave, to start my life. I was busy too; running from job to job before settling in Sudbury, meeting my husband and later taking the factory position that I would have after our youngest started school. Busy, industrial sewing machines hummed along eight hours a day. Busy afterward raising a family and tending to the million zillion things that come along with seven children, a husband and a hundred year old house. We were busy at all hours it seemed; with that many children someone was always fighting and someone yelling. I would send the children out to play when they got too rambunctious and gain a measure of quiet that way, but it was never for very long.
Make no mistake, I love my children dearly, every one of them. Beth, Adam, Margaret, Benjamin, Harold, Charlie, Debra and Pauline. One of my little starlings was stillborn. Bathed and then wrapped in muslin we laid her to rest under a tree out in the pasture. Nine babies all in all, eight that grew to adulthood and one sweet little bird that flew away on the wind. In all things we trust that the Lord knows best. My children grew and moved away. As I aged my thoughts went more and more often to Mickey Lake and my early life there. Simple everyday things drew my mind back.
In the Spring, when I drove home after a heavy rain the sides of the road home held large puddles of water. The surface rippled gently in the breeze while the dark waters reflected the trees and sky. This simple thing made me more homesick for Mickey Lake than anything I ever came across. How many summer days did I look out and see the lake rippling in exactly the same way in the breeze? Lake Wanapitei was nice to take the children to in the summer, but it was busy with highways and stores. Vacationers would line the shores with their multi-colored towels while their babies played in the shallows in little lime green suits and pink plastic sunglasses. An exhausting but fun day trip. My memory held Mickey Lake more comfortably; less commerce, fewer people, and quiet.
But now I am alone, finally. Blessedly, peacefully free to listen to the water lap against remains of the wooden pier that my grandfather built and abandoned here years ago. Spirit soaring as I watch the clouds lazily picking their way through the tops of the ancient evergreens and hardwoods that line the shores. In the summer the loon calls his mate while frogs speak up from the reeds and small trout show their backs in the shallows. These dark waters, fed by streams and brooks and winter run-off are full of life and beauty. I see my maker’s hand in the exquisite snow flakes that dance along the ground in December and in the cathedral that the lake becomes when snow blankets the evergreens at its edges. Such riches we are given here on earth. At last, I am home.