Moonlight softly touched upon water. The heavens above glistened over a pool of darkness. A soft current lapped at the shore, drinking the soil in, but then it fell back, sinking into the abyss. Gentle fingers tapped the waves as if playing symphony upon a piano, and eyes shined against the mirror of perfection that stretched out into the distance. And the night fell silent, allowing me to the thoughts that rained inside my mind, but my heart slipped beneath the body of this lake, knowing that these moments were at an end.
When we first moved into the heart of country, insanity was sure to follow. The life of Long Island did not follow me here, and there was no place to let loose but in the woods that now surrounded me. All I had were books to keep my mind entertained, and music was the companion of my heart. But in the beginning, I decided to be adventurous and see what brave, new world this was. And I stumbled across Round Lake.
My father and brothers were in tuned with the great outdoors than I was or cared to be. They eagerly slipped over the smooth surface of water in their giant, plastic rafts, and I can still hear the paddles gently kissing the waves. I did not mind the sun bathing over my porcelain skin, but boredom was on fast approach. After an hour or less, I was ready to go home, slip back behind my four walls, but not them. They were having too much fun.
And we strolled down toward Round Lake. Fishing poles fell in hand, and thin lines sliced the water apart. Worms plunged to their death, begging for a feeding frenzy, but I don’t remember if we ever caught anything. The only thing I ever caught on a hook was myself, and during those long, hot summer days, I spent more of my time watching the fishermen gut their prize. And then one day, my father stopped taking us down to the lake, and we were left to wander on our own. And I returned to my room, where I fueled the fires of ambition and bled the pen dry.
Later in life, I would enjoy my drives past Round Lake. I always tried to time it right and catch the sunset falling over the body of water. The colors were of beauty, and the waves whispered of another day’s end. And no matter the chaos of my life, this scenery always brought me peace, and the turbulent thoughts waiting to be heard would fall back into silence. And my foot would slip from the gas pedal, drinking in all that my eyes could take until the view was left far behind me, and then I would continue on, heading home.
This was once a small, country town. Then, one day, the railroad came and opened the gates to the city. Newcomers came and settled, and life changed. The buildings are still there from decades ago, but we are far from the past now. And the city has come home, and more land lies barren than full of trees or wild life. Speedsters burn rubber, leaving road kill behind, and we have that New York mentality that we must get to wherever we are going. There is no more country here, and what is left is slipping through our hands. And now all eyes fall upon the demise of Round Lake.
I used to stare out at that little island encased in a body of water. My mind would stroll through its vast wilderness, wondering what creatures lied in wait. Butterflies carried dreams of living in country’s heart, cut from the world, but not too far away from its shore. Escape is something that we all want, a slice of our own heaven, and making this island home was not ludicrous. The ideas that chased in its footsteps were, obstructions that would hinder the rest of us from enjoying what was and will be no more, but are the blueprints of its future set in stone? And was compromise at a loss?
I drove past Round Lake today. I savored its beauty, and a gentle breeze stirred across water. I missed the sunset, but maybe later, I will be lucky enough to capture the full moon in all its glory, shining like a brilliant beacon against a soft body of darkness. Yet, the wind carried whispers of its fate, and the day will come soon, where this sight will no longer meet my eyes. Instead, barren land will hold my gaze, a new home to be built, breaking the embrace of nature, but it could be worse. It could be a cinder block of city dropped in the center of this lake, but maybe, it would stay true to its roots. Maybe difference of opinion could build a bridge of compromise and not demolish the last haven of wilderness. Or were we too late, leaving no country for those here?