I have lived in my lakeside home for longer than any other place in my life. Seventeen years of watching the sunrise and the Canadian geese flying by in formation, headed to parts unknown. The fishermen floating by on Jon boats at 7 AM, a flotilla of ducks stopping by for an afternoon siesta and my beloved Great Blue Heron and its signature squawk as it leaps off its favorite tree branch and awkwardly manages to take to the sky. I imagine that it is the quarantine that has made me keenly aware of all the goings on out here by the lake. Day in and day out, I work from my chair with my laptop and gaze out my window to see what might float, swim, slither or fly by.
This is the first lake house I have lived in. It’s something I always aspired to own as my Uncle Jim had owned a house on a lake when I was a small child. And I had my summers at camp on Lake Winnipesaukee. The water has always been a draw for me. After all these years, I have a new appreciation for the lake and its ever-changing canvas as I step forward to moving on and downsizing my life.
The benefits of living on a lake:
I have always sought out a body of water. I can remember my family’s annual pilgrimage to Camp DeWitt in New Hampshire; we made a game of being the first to catch a glimpse of Lake Winnipesaukee. I remember driving to Rehoboth Beach with high school friends in Delaware and wanting to be the first to stick my foot in the water. As written in Get Your Lake On, “Simply seeing a natural body of water can have a positive effect on your outlook. The beauty of water evokes a sense of awe that has been linked to an increase in positive feelings as well as satisfaction with life. This boost in mood can even produce stronger feelings of love and generosity.” Even in this time of COVID and having to stick close to home, I feel good. It’s the antidote to the uncertainty of “if and when” this will end. The lake is the center of well-being.
The air alone makes you feel better. As written in Lake Living Guide, “Research has shown that the air near a lake or sea is charged with negative ions. Although the ions are negative, they have a positive effect on your body. These ions work to balance the serotonin levels in your body. Serotonin is a chemical that is associated with mood and stress. This is why you feel a release of tension when at the lake. The ions also help your body absorb oxygen. Increased oxygen in your body improves alertness and also combats free radicals. Free radicals are organic molecules that are responsible for aging and tissue damage. In a nutshell, living by water can help you live longer.” This accounts for why my boyfriend Roy always takes his coffee outside on the deck next to the water. The lake is rejuvenating.
Every day is a new canvas. The water is the canvas, the wind its brush strokes. There are days with white caps, there are days of complete and utter stillness when the sky reflects on the water like a mirror, there are tiny microbursts that dance across the lake. It is constantly changing. Schools of minnows swarming below the surface, turtles peeking out, the swifts who nest in my drain pipe every year and dart in and out, the Egrets that showed up for about a week and then moved on, the double-crested cormorants who congregate in mass in the Spring just off shore, the damn squirrel who will not leave my bird feeder alone and terrorizes my dog, the twenty story cumulus clouds that accompany a thunderstorm, and the startling glimpse of an Anhinga fishing in the middle of the lake with its long snake like neck never to be seen again. The dragonflies, wasps, butterflies, mosquitoes and buzzing hummingbirds fighting over two different feeders. The lake is an ever changing canvas that keeps me enthralled.
When I first moved here, I was struck by how quiet it was, especially at night. Part of the silence is due to my house being in the country but the lake occupies most of the space in the area. So, it’s mostly natural sounds at night. Yes, there is the jet ski or speed boat on a summer Saturday afternoon, but for the most part the rest is all nature. As written in Lake Living Guide, “Flowing water’s soothing sounds are often used in meditation, and we know that meditation is a renowned relaxation method. Moving water is likened to “white noise,” in which individuals may hear a different song. I know from experience how the soothing sound of water can give you an extraordinarily restful sleep.” I wake up to the honking of geese, the squawk of a heron or the coo of a dove and sound of waves crashing next to the sea wall. It is peaceful and centering. The lake lulls me into nature.
It is an idyllic place to have to isolate in. How fortunate I have been to enjoy this lake front home as the pandemic ebbs and flows. A place to be centered and relaxed while keeping the edge off the uncertainty. My wish is that this home finds its next family to enjoy its immeasurable benefits and make wondrous memories.