Following Our Daughter Up to the Trees

The Deceptive Calm of Mirror Lake

Escape to Lake Placid.  Every summer, I enjoy idyllic thoughts of the peace I’d find in nature.  Or should I say, “idyllic illusions.”  This year, after Willa returned strong and browned from her Wisconsin wilderness retreat, I kept picturing myself trekking happily through the wild trees with her.  So Rick and I and Willa packed ourselves into our family Prius and motored up to the village of Lake Placid — where we’d see this view of Mirror Lake from our hotel room patio.

I did my best to prepare: I left my high heels back home and slathered myself with sunscreen and bug spray.  But if my image were reflected in this picture of Mirror Lake, you’d see me burned and bitten.  And even putting aside the sunburn and bug bites, Lake Placid wasn’t exactly, um, “placid.”  In the middle of our first night up there, when we were sound asleep after our long, long drive, the carbon monoxide monitor in our room went off.  Having suffered a similar emergency at home, I have to admit, I freaked out.  Rick stayed calm, got hotel staff on the line, turned off the room’s defective heater, and threw open the windows and doors.  So no harm, except that I was afraid to sleep the rest of the night.  The next day, when I tried to soothe my nerves with a peaceful canoe ride, I capsized before even leaving the dock.  And then, I came down with a cold from the draft in our room.

After that, I stayed on shore and admired the flowers while Willa canoed successfully and hiked up Owl’s Head and the Cobble Hill trail.  On the way home, she told us she plans to travel across the country next.  I tensed, ready to object.  But then, I realized the problem:  I was picturing myself struggling through the trip.  Willa will do just fine.

The Flowers of Lake Placid
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