The sky is dreary and gray. The smell of last night’s rain lingers in the air. I walk outside on this Sunday morning into the chilly air wearing a short sleeved tee shirt and jeans.
This is home. I have lived in the same house for forty-two years. It is located on Plymouth Road, which dead ends at the Tenn-Tom River. The few houses on the road are occupied by other senior citizens who resided here before I arrived.
Ignoring the chill in the air, I walk to my favorite place, the lake. The murky, dirty water is filled with leaves from the big oak tree that towers above me. The sound of a bird squawking gets my attention. Looking up, I see two birds fluttering their wings. The acorns crunch under my feet and make a plunking sound when dropping into the water from an overhanging branch.
A gray crane sensing my presence takes flight off the sandbar. During the rainy season, the water covers the sand and extends to the fence on my property line. During the dry season, the sandbar becomes more visible as the lake recedes. A white crane searches for minnows in the shallow water as his long slender neck moves up and down. The sand by the water is grayish in color. The dirt farther up the inlet has a reddish tint.
Four little ducks paddle in the middle of the lake. I stare at the small heads and fluttering feathers. Two ducks are white and the smallest two are gray. I watch with amazement as they swim toward the opposite shore. A flash of white shows above the water as a bass jumps showing his underside.
Late in the afternoon, I throw fish pellets into the lake feeding the fish. The black catfish circle as they fill their whiskered mouths with food. Grabbing the food, they go under the water and surface circling again. Big circles are made in the water by the twisting and turning of their huge bodies.
The smell of fish hangs in the air as the water turns black with bream coming to eat. The reflections in the water show the orange glow in the sky, the shadow of trees, and shadows of a bird flying overhead as the day turns into night.
The lake was dug by pumping gravel and holds mysteries. I found an old headlight buried in the red clay bank. The water had to recede before I could reclaim it from nature. What caliber of men worked leaving the headlight to be covered with dirt from the pumping of sand, water and gravel?
One mystery of the lake is small starfish. The small white creatures live in the backwater of the lake. Did the wind deposit them?
A few years ago, I enjoyed standing on a high bank and shooting snakes as they swam close to shore. Some got on the bank a few feet from me. My boldness has left with age. In the past, I enjoyed fishing. I take my Zebco to the lake on very few occasions. I love to take a gun from my collection to the lake to shoot bottles and turtles.
This is home. I love the quiet and solitude of the lake. I love to hear the Canadian geese honking. In the late afternoons, they glide and splash while landing. In the early mornings, they honk and leave at precisely the same time: 6:30 am. Do they have a built in alarm clock?
A yellow glow peeking behind a white cloud lets me know darkness is coming. The dampness in the air settles on my nostrils as I make my way through dead grass to the house. The glare from the newly installed blue metal roof blinds me for a moment. Entering the house, I feel the heat of the wall heater and hear the perking of my coffee pot. My one-eyed calico cat, Baby Cake, is curled in my favorite chair. The house is where I settle for the night but my heart is at the lake.
- Tender Souls