Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Missing Seneca Lake

My father and third brother took a trip back home to New York this week. My first and fourth brothers live there still, and my nephew just moved up there to my brother's Indian Creek Farm to learn the ropes of Cummins Nursery.

You may recall, if you're a long-time reader, that my parents sold their home in upstate New York (Finger Lakes region) two years ago to move down to Tennessee with the rest of us (my family and my two other brothers and their families). "House" is a post I wrote about it. I happen to love this post. It makes me a little weepy every time I read it, even two years later.

I shouldn't have just read it just now, because last night my father called from Seneca Lake. They were out sailing: my Dad, brothers Peter and Stephen, and nephew Owen. "We're out here on Seneca in the K-boat," my Dad said. "Waited for one storm to pass and now another has hit. We're four wet turkeys in a boat."

"Out here on Seneca." My father is 86. When I was a little girl, he always had one hand on the rudder and the other on the mainsail. Handling the jib was up to us. Bailing our old leaky boat was my mother's job. Sometimes I curled up under the bow and slept, lulled by the waves and my father's voice.

If you grew up in my hometown, you would know Seneca Lake. It's just always there. For some it was always just a drive-by view, a late-night spot, a Saturday afternoon. For others it is alive, transparent with emotion, exquisite in its beauty, frightening with its moods.

I miss it, I do. I miss it so much that I can't think about it for long, can't dwell on the thought of the early morning sun sending diamonds across the waves. Can't think about the big orange moon sitting fat and lazy in the sky.

Can't think about my father, who may or may not have had his oh-so-familiar hand on the rudder during yesterday's sail.


  1. How wonderful that your dad called you while he was in one of your favorite places! I always beg friends and family to call me when they are visiting places special to me, especially if I haven't been in person in a long time. It makes my heart ache, but for those few short moments I am right there with them.

  2. I absolutely adored the photos of your mom in your recent post Sarah! Such a beautiful, gentile Southern lady! You have been in my thoughts lately as I reflect on this last year of my life. If we hadn't had that conversation a few years ago I would never have had the courage to change my course and I would have missed the precious moments I've been able to share with my mom. Love you for that!

  3. I saw your post in the sidebar of a blog. My parents have a house on a lake right near Seneca Lake and we are going there this weekend for the 4th!!! It's a beautiful area!

  4. oh my, sarah. beautiful writing.


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