It is early morning at the lake. All but the fishermen are still asleep inside the house. I am sitting on the porch swing. It is long and wooden and white, with a red floral cushion. A nudge from my foot prompts the swing to move slowly. There is just the slightest squeak as it goes back and forth: nothing annoying, a gentle sound. I like it.
The lake is as smooth as glass. It’s a different water than is seen at midday, when boats are out. It’s a rested water; the night has brought tranquility and restoration. The morning sky is a light blue, not yet filled with the vitality of the noon sun. There are traces of clouds—wisps, nothing more.
The birds welcome the day. Their singing is all there is to hear. It’s a lovely quiet. The swing glides easily and invites me to see what is not yet there, to think of what could be. I dream my dreams and contemplate the future. I am alive with the thought of possibilities.
I sit on the porch swing and think, this is my favorite time of day.
- - - -
It is late afternoon at the lake. I open the screen door and walk onto the porch from outside. I feel hot. Every inch of me—every pore, every hair, every fiber of my being—is hot. I have been outside all afternoon. The pier is hot, the chair is hot, my drink is hot, and I am hot! The sun and I are on intimate terms. Even my magazine has been overcome by the heat: The cover is coming off and the pages are turning up at the corners. I take off my sunglasses and lie down on the porch swing.
Outside, voices grow louder. The last group of skiers has returned. They are rowdy. One of them took a spill and demands an explanation from the person who was driving the boat. It is said in fun, and there is laughter. I know there are jobs to be done for dinner, but the porch swing rocks me, coaxes me to stay a bit longer. The smells of the day surround me—fish from the lake, coconut-scented suntan lotion, the charcoal beginning its work in the grill.
I feel cooler. I sit up and look out. The sun’s intensity is beginning to diminish. There are diamonds on the water. The lake is choppy from the day’s action. I start to re-energize. I give another push with my foot. I am connected to the present in every way. I sit on the porch swing and remind myself that this is my favorite time of day.
- - - -
It is evening at the lake, and I am sitting on the porch swing. The sounds coming from inside the house tell me the rooms are full of activities, but they do not disturb the darkness that now covers the lake. A few boats are out. I can’t hear them, but I know they are there from their small running lights. To be out in a boat when it’s dark is exciting—it feels mysterious to be moving about under the cover of night. I enjoy a bit of that intrigue as I watch the lights slip by.
The water laps at the shore. It’s a soft sound, rhythmic. Noises of the day keep it from being heard as clearly when the sun is out. A breeze blows through the screens. It is a refreshing change from the day’s sticky air. The evening is relaxing with me.
I peer into the darkness. I do not see the night, I feel it. I give another push with my foot. A group calls out to play cards. Another reminisces of other times at the lake and get-togethers of the past. Someone recalls a funny story, and laughter erupts. Their voices conjure sweet memories of moments of long ago. I think of loved ones not here anymore, and I am reminded of the gentle forever-ness of memories. I sit on the porch swing, reflecting on the past, and I know that this is my favorite time of day.
Marilyn Thompson is Director of Marketing at The History Museum in South Bend.