Yesterday was Matt's last day off from a long furlough; today he went back to training. He had a few days' warning, so we spent the weekend doing only what we wanted to do. It felt, almost, like he was getting ready to go on a long trip. Sometimes it does feel that way; if schedules are just right, I bring the kids to school functions and hockey practice by myself for a week or two, and I sometimes wonder if others wonder about the state of our marriage.
On Sunday, Matt decided he wants to get down to the lake. It has always been, for him, a place to go and think, to use as a bookend or a transition, a touchstone, a key, a place to sit quietly before things change. We loaded up wood for a fire, a bag of marshmallows, and the dogs; we headed out and hoped it wouldn't rain.
John sharpened marshmallow-toasting sticks.
There were a few people at Flat Rocks, but they left soon after we got there; some had to beat the traffic back to Duluth, some back to the Cities. The rain held off, and while there was no breeze, there were no bugs, either.
The last time we were at Flat Rocks, it was with my parents, and we spent much the same time there. A small bag of food, a fire, a cloudy day. On that day, John fell into a crevasse and was badly shaken. This time, the kids leapt with confidence over gullies and rifts, and the lake was quiet enough to walk right up to it. A thousand-footer eased past. An eagle hunted in the water, and was chased off by a gull. We were there for hours, just being with the lake.
"Mama. All I see is the lake, and the sky, and the blue line, which is the land on the other side of the lake."
And sometimes, that's all you need.