On a clear day, the passengers sitting in the left hand window seats of an aircraft flying west from Boston, should be able to see the meandering Merrimack river soon after the take off. Close to a particularly big bend of the river, one should be also able to see two distinct blue colored water tanks, on the opposite side of a small lake.
The two blue tanks, the river and the lake are so distinctly visible from the air, that they are used as a marker by the local flight training schools teaching Ariel acrobatics. It seems it is impossible to lose sight of the tanks and the lake even when the planes do twists and turns and stalls in the air.
We had been living in our house for more than two years, when my mother, who was visiting us from India, walked into the house after her morning walk, visibly excited . “Do you know there is a lake at the end of the cul-de-sac ?”
Amazing, but true. That was the first time we came know that there is an access to the lake just six houses down the street!
The access to the lake had been hidden by a white wooden gate that blended into the wooden fence of the property next to it. A narrow path led up to the gate. The path was partly obscured because there was a hill right next to it. On the other side of the gate, another narrow path led down to the lake where it ended into a small wooden jetty. There was a narrow road around the lake that covered half of it’s perimeter, with some pretty houses scattered along it.
The “discovey” of the lake was followed by unlocking the heap of treasure it had to offer. We started by exploring the quiet path along the lake. The beautiful path was sheltered by trees with the quiet sound of rustling trees broken by an occasional cry of a blue jay or a goose.
“Should we get a boat and explore the lake “ I asked my wife one day. Both of us had a fare share of experience of boating from our college days in India, so we quickly converged to an affirmative decision.
We initially bought a small yellow boat just to “test the waters” literally. The boat was great for individual exploration but It was a bit small for two adults.
We soon upgraded to a fishing boat. The new boat had wooden bottom offering a relatively stable ride with two small kids. It had a battery driven trolling motor that facilitated quiet exploration without disturbing the fauna around the lake.
Beside the encounters with otters, snapping turtles, fishes and water birds, the lake offered spectacularly quiet moments. Drifting in the lake, far from all the shores with sun’s reflection on the water scattered like million tiny diamonds.
My son and his friend J , who is our next door neighbor’s son, accompany me often to the lake. With them around it is more of a noisy exploration time. We playfully chase water birds away from an area we know a school of fish lives in. Get close to a snapping turtle basking in the morning sun until it sees us and jumps back into the lake.
“Dad , can we give J the old yellow boat ?” asked my son one day.
“We don’t use it anymore” it is just lying there in the basement” he replied, ” J loves boating and he will be able to go the lake if we are not around”
“OK – but I will have to ask his mother if it is OK with her first”
So J got the yellow boat. We also conducted a test run in the lake. Both J and my son were thrilled.
Last summer, me and my son were exploring the marshy end of the lake when we noticed an opening between the bushes we could just squeeze the boat through. We had not noticed this opening before. It had rained a lot this year and the level of water was higher than usual. This had perhaps opened up this new area within the lake which was otherwise inaccessible.
“I wonder what is on the other side “ , said my son excitedly.
As we navigated the boat through the bushes, we saw an opening leading into a brook. It was a small stream that was about six feet wide, meandering it way into the lake.
“Wow! a Stream !! ” , exclaimed my son. “Lets explore ! we may discover something interesting ...“
The sun was about to set, and I was not up for an adventure. “ We will comeback again”, I said.
Just as I said those words, the small opening between the bushes exploded with action as the small yellow boat suddenly pushed it's way through . J and his fifteen year old brother were furiously rowing the boat, their mother sitting with an amused smile.
“J , Look we have a stream to explore !” exclaimed my son, his eyes lighting up in excitement.
“Yes !! let’s explore !” exclaimed back J.
J’s mom and I exchanged amused glances and joined the noisy twilight exploration.
It was discovery time once again.