Cup of Coffee: Blue Mountain

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All I hear are birds. That’s it. I don’t know what types of birds, maybe a blue jay in the tree next to me, a swallow hopping along the edge of the porch, a hummingbird, for sure, in the yellow flowers, flits. Round wooden beams, rails and posts frame my view, there is only one place for Adirondack buildings and that’s in the Adirondacks.

Coffee’s hot, the cup resting on the wide arm of the wooden chair. Mist rises off the lake, drifting above but with the current. A loon fishes, its black head disappears into the water, ripples disperse in circles, then he rises again. Everybody seems to go fishing, but don’t seem to catch anything, well, other than the loon, he must be catching something.

I feel like I’m tainting the scene, by typing on a keyboard, I wish I could type quieter. There are days I wish I wrote longhand, with a plume pen and parchment paper. It would be more romantic, but not as productive.

An early morning kayaker sets out, his paddle scoops up the water and it splashes down, in perfect motion, rhythm. In a flannel shirt, beard, life preserver tucked in the webbing on the back of his royal blue kayak. Off he goes, through the mist, the red of his shirt, the yellow ends of his paddle slowly fading. Then like that, the lake turns pink, yellowish, like a flashlight has been shined through a box of pastels, above the water, but below the mist, I wonder if the kayaker can see it, being in it. The mist turns blue, changing colors before I finish typing a sentence. I wish I could paint. The kayaker disappears, through a swath between the pine trees across the lake. I see his paddles, up and then down, fading like dots from a pen. Then he stops, drifts.

The pine trees across the lake, lean, the wind altering their balance. There is no wind today, and still they lean, like hitchhikers as trucks pass on the highway, perpetually bracing against the wind. It must be cold up here in the winter. I shudder.

Monday, I joined the Early Morning Swim Club, the water jolting at first descent, then refreshing. We swam out, until our breath labored, then swam back to the floating dock. I had an omelet for breakfast, another cup of coffee, I didn’t know where my phone was, didn’t know who worked well on the turf or how many newspapers were in the plastic box by the Oklahoma Training Track. We went kayaking, Miles in the front. Annie, Chris and Laurie Ambrose floating, drifting, paddling around us, we paddled far, through narrow channels, across the lake, under a bridge, out to another lake, waved to a man and his dog in a sail boat. I jumped off a rock, just high enough to make me take a deep breath or 10, well, until an 8-year-old boy jumped off it, laughing all the way. I still get water up my nose when I land in the water.

Miles and I played air hockey in the game room, climbed on the boulders, scared sleeping ducks on the beach. I took a nap, we ate dinner and drank wine at a picnic table on a porch, we pulled on sweaters halfway through dinner. We listened to Steve Borst play his guitar and sing next to the campfire – if I closed my eyes, he could have been Pete Seeger, John Prine or James Taylor. He took some requests, played two songs for his encore, it was 10 o’clock at night, it could have been 2 in the morning. Miles stretched out in the dirt, hoodie as a pillow, and listened, then fell asleep in his mom’s arms. I carried him to his bed, my little boy who used to fit between my elbow and fingertips.

That was Monday.

Water drips off the eaves of the porch roof. I hear flip-flops. A screen door slams. I hear dishes clanking in the kitchen. A girl and her dad, carrying fishing poles, walk to the chairs on the edge of the lake. Dad casts, a long, slow sleepy cast, the hook and bait plunk into the water. The girl drops her fishing pole on the ground, shrieks. Dad says, “I don’t know how to tell you this, but you’re supposed to be quiet.” She asks, “Why?” He whispers. I can’t hear his reasons, but I hope she’s listening.

The kayaker reappears, in the distance through the mist, under the mist. He isn’t gone long but I know he’s transformed. He climbs out of his kayak, grabs a cup of coffee and walks through the wet grass, “Beautiful out there.” Beautiful here.

The mist, almost gone a few minutes ago, returns, thicker, blanketing the lake. I can’t see the pine trees, rock island or the mountain in the distance.

Welcome to The Hedges at Blue Mountain Lake.