Friday, April 15, 2011

Some stay for awhile and leave footprints on our hearts

I took a solo 7 mile hike around Lums Pond a couple of weeks ago and somehow got to thinking about childhood memories. When I was young my favorite vacation spot was Song Lake near Tully, New York. (Ok, you got me, it still ranks up there pretty high, but I tend to spend my summers with birds now). Our family has a small rustic cabin on the lake—and I spent a lot of time there each summer  making wonderful memories. We had big family gatherings every 4th of July complete with great food, boat rides, and often some out of control fireworks. I considered my cousin Theresa my twin—we were practically inseparable and spent every moment we could together. We’d disappear during family gatherings to play and left our older siblings wondering what we were up to.

As typical kids we often played make-believe. I don’t remember all the details, but I do remember pretending to be chipmunks (we often fed the real ones popcorn kernels and clearly admired them for their chubby cheeks) or even bats (by hanging upside down from the bunk beds in the back room of the cabin). We shared a common interest in wildlife—among other things. One time while hunting for crayfish under rocks on the lake shore Theresa was “bitten” by what she thought was a dead crayfish and she shouted “The dead crab bit me! How rude!” And we were forever convinced that we needed to start a children’s book series with the same title.

We used to ride our bikes down the road to Country Flavors for irresistible ice cream. We took the paddle boat out for a spin around the island (albeit, a slow spin). Sometimes we’d get off on the island and go exploring—pretending we were on unfamiliar land. One time we competed in a paddle boat race on the 4th of July—needless to say, we were completely out-paddled by kids who were probably 4 years younger than us. A group of us snuck into an old abandoned house down the road which gave Theresa and I inspiration for a ghost story that we wrote together. Sometimes we would dress in all black and play hide and go seek or bloody murderer—the latter, of course, probably drove the neighbors absolutely nuts.

When Theresa and I got older we’d take the paddle boat out late at night and tell each other about our dreams, goals, and of course, boys. We both wanted to work with wildlife in some way but didn’t exactly know how—we just knew we loved dolphins. We started trying to raise money for national wildlife organizations by selling lemonade at the top of the hill. Of course we never really raised much money but we had fun together regardless -- and we made cute stationary with animals on it.

I have many wonderful memories from my time at the lake house as a child and teenager—but the memories I create there today are quite different. I don’t get the chance to go every year anymore. Now it means more to me to have good conversations with family members and catch up with their lives. Almost every one of my cousins has a picture of the biggest fish they caught at the lake—and now many of them are accumulating pictures of their own kids with big fish grins on their faces. And I notice all of the wildlife, especially the birds that pass through—the cedar waxwings that whistle softly from the tree tops or the nuthatches that visit the feeder. I spend more time relaxing in the sun and reading a good book, going kayaking, or chatting with a friend on the phone.

Some people say we we shouldn't live in the past.  But I think looking back to those carefree days as a child can allow us to discover what we’ve always wanted to do and who we’ve always wanted to be -- deep down inside. We should ask ourselves if we are living up to our childhood dreams--and if not, how we can still make it happen.  I never could have predicted as a child where I’d be in 10-15 years—but I think the childhood Lisa would be pretty content with the path taken by the adult Lisa so far. We may not ever know what’s ahead of us, but we can at least try to be confident that the journey will get us to wherever we are meant to be.  And we can also be reminded that its ok to still act like a child sometimes--and to worry less and have more fun.

“Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay for awhile and leave footprints on our hearts. And we are never, ever the same.” - Unknown

This blog entry is dedicated to Theresa Vormwald—wherever you are, I hope you are happy and living life to the fullest. Theresa—if you are reading this, I would love to hear how you are doing and where your journey has taken you thus far. Miss you and love you always. The dead crab bit me, how rude.

1 comment:

anw said...

What a nice story and fun memories!