Ghosts at the Lake

a family story

We sometimes summered at the lake when we were all young. I look at the old movies and photographs of us- mom, dad, and the four siblings, cousins, friends and grandparents, laughing, with arms around each other, and wish I could peel back the fading layers of time.  Sometimes I think I see light shining through the fabric and if I just put my eye closer there we all will be again.

We had no ipads or cell phones then to distract us from the business of living in the moment. Our time was spent swimming, water skiing, catching minnows, roasting marshmallows on campfires, meeting other kids on holiday, and generally running around like maniacs once again set free from the school year.

Some of us are gone and my brother died tragically a few years ago, but as in my photos, his imprint is stamped on this drift of moving tapestry. He and all the rest of us have left a memory here, stirring among the wind eyed trees and echoing on the lake like the lone and unknown piper whose plaintive longing swelled over the surrounding hills every twilight.

Though I’ve been back before, this was the first time in years that I ventured to the far side. Perhaps it was because I still felt keenly the untimely loss of my brother, but something compelled me to take a solitary walk and I soon found myself beside the old overgrown train stop where vacationers once spilled out on weekends.  I walked further but it was all barely recognizable until I saw the little bridge we would cross over with our  happy carts of summer supplies. There it was- an old, partly torn down and abandoned cottage waiting in ruins beside recently built and more luxurious vacation homes that have signs saying “no trespassing.”  I wasn’t even sure at first if it was the one we had occupied, it was such a sad and inappropriate relic of those good times. However, the dock behind was intact and the same as I remembered. This was where, in my sixteenth year and at midnight, I slipped silently and secretly into the lake with my sister, both of us sky-clad like mermaids under the stars, in some rite of passage, answering a call that I still hear in those moments before waking.  

Oh very young what will you leave us this time, you’re only dancing on this earth for a short while

At the lake
summer at the lake

“I will never reach Ixtlan he said, “Yet in my feelings… in my feelings sometimes I think I’m just one step from reaching it. Yet I never will. In my journey I don’t even find the familiar landmarks I used to know. Nothing is any longer the same.”- Carlos Castaneda – Journey to Ixtlan

station
Walking the old tracks

65 Comments Add yours

  1. Bojenn says:

    Well, I shed a tear or two… Lovely memories captured in your story. I miss them for you. You will meet again…

    Like

    1. aww thank you Bojenn!!! What a lovely comment!! Yes I believe we will meet again!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Bojenn says:

        I believe it!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Gradmama2011 says:

    such sudden recollections are indeed more numerous as we get older. your photos, and writing are most enjoyable. nice blog

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thanks so much- sorry i’s taken a while as I am traveling right now-!

      Like

  3. Peter Nena says:

    Fond memories. Much appreciated.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thanks for reading Peter!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Cybele, what stunningly ethereal images that beautifully portray your faded memories of times long past. Your story, your photos, and that Cat Steven’s song awakened my own memories. Thanks for that. Beautifully done!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Many thanks Stacy!! I’m happy you liked the bitter-sweetness of it. As we get older sometimes memories can get stronger though we have to let some of them go.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Magical photos as always Cybele, but I loved this piece of writing, which is so wistful, moving and beautifully written.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you so much Andrea!! Yes these memories are bittersweet are they not!!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Emilio Pasquale says:

    Ah, such beauty. I’m not sure which effects me more, your words or your images. but, does it matter? Such beauty!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thanks for your lovely comment Emilio!!

      Like

  7. Reblogged this on The World in Twilight and commented:
    One more reblog this week. Photos like these remind me of why I got into photography in the first place. Do check out her blog, “There Was a Time.” 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Many thanks for the reblog Robert! I’m honoured!

      Like

  8. robert87004 says:

    Beautiful shots and thoughts, Hannah. That is why I have (so far) chosen not to go home, Wisconsin, as the last time I was there in the 1991 it was already far removed from my childhood. I think I’d rather have the memories than current reality. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. yes, we carry the memories with us at any rate and home is a place we can never return to, except in that nostalgic sense! Thank you Robert!!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Beautiful writing, recollecting wonderful moments, even if somewhat melancholic at times. Beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. the older we get the more poignant the memories become. Life is so fleeting! Thanks so much for your support Lizzie!

      Like

  10. Roy McCarthy says:

    I see I was correct in thinking the singer was Cat Stevens. The gift of memory is a two-edged sword I think but you’ve captured it beautifully here.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you Roy, and it definitely is bittersweet.

      Like

  11. Bojenn says:

    The Ghosts at the lake remind me of my childhood, as well. If we could “peel back the layers” and see a “light shimmer through” it certainly would sent the nostalgia waves through me. This was so warm and brilliant and filled with the ghosts that I too know and have encountered. Just simply lovely, serene and enjoyable, this lyrical story is to read.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. so glad you enjoyed it Jenn and thanks for taking time to leave such a lovely comment. Yes, at times those memories feel so close we feel we might be able to touch them. I’m glad it reminded you too of happy childhood moments. Blessings!!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Amy says:

    So very beautiful… Blew me away! Especially the b/w.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Amy!! Your comment is so encouraging!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Amy says:

        I admire your work, as always, Cybele! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Norma says:

    I enjoyed the excerpt and the photos to go with it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Aquileana says:

    Remarkable set of photographs and beautiful words, dear Cybele 🌟★
    Love!. Happy weekend ahead. Aquileana 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    1. much gratitude for your comment Aquileana! You too!

      Like

  15. The bittersweet memories we have. Such beautiful photos and happy times for you. Thanks for sharing! Have a fabulous weekend! 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you Linda!!

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Dreamy, and lovely images to go with your memories, and words which are so eloquent!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Many thanks Deborah!!! So glad you liked it. I think we all can relate to those moments of memory!

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Great shots as always!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you Robert – Infra red seems to bring out a longing – and sometimes is creepy too!! ( I like both lol).

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Enchanting! The photos are otherworldly and the language and storytelling is SO compelling. I love this post, Cybele.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Many thanks Naomi!! Your comment means a lot to me! Story needs a bit of cleaning up but it just flowed out when I visited there. I seem to be becoming more sentimental as time goes by!

      Liked by 1 person

  19. ♡eM says:

    Aw, Dune Mouse,

    Thanks for the bittersweet, teary-eyed state of heart this post brought to me. I listened to the song as I strolled slowly through each photograph and the words.

    Oh! your words.

    How I too “wish I could peel back the fading layers of time” at moments like this one. It seems the older I get, the quicker those layers are laid down, resistance futile.

    Transistor radio!

    I wouldn’t mind listening to Time In a Bottle on one right now, though I wouldn’t likely have listened to it back then. There never does seem to be enough time. Sigh.

    Teary-eyed smiles!
    ♡eM

    Liked by 1 person

    1. more sentimental the older I get!! You understand! Thanks so much Em!!

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Engaging set of images…

    Liked by 1 person

  21. lauramacky says:

    I love what you wrote and the pictures to go with here. I felt like I was reading the beginning of a novel!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I so appreciate your comment Laura! though it needs a bit of revision. Hmm excellent idea!! a novel!! lol Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. lauramacky says:

        You’re welcome! Stephen King watch out!!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. lol. only sometimes. I hope I’m a bit more poetic than he is !! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      3. lauramacky says:

        Yes definitely more poetic!!

        Liked by 1 person

  22. Maverick ~ says:

    Wonderful reflections, words and images.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. much appreciated coming from you Maverick!

      Like

  23. Suzanne says:

    Gosh what a stunning post. Your photos are like visions from memory and your words weave a spell. Everything here is magical?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thanks so much Suzanne though I wrote it without revising ( which it needs). I love the infra red camera for this – it creates a ghostly and seductive atmosphere!

      Like

  24. Sharon says:

    Great photo’s and sentiment cuz!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thanks dear cousin!!

      Like

  25. sheldonk2014 says:

    I wrote something that I think you should check out when you get some time

    Liked by 1 person

  26. sheldonk2014 says:

    Great post,excellent work
    Cat Stevens is my all time favorite,
    As always Sheldon

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Sue says:

    The past is indeed another country…I can relate to this post, Cybele. And I think your images are powerfully wistful, speaking of memories of times long gone. Sometimes I, too, think there is light shining through the cracks…just another step…but I do make myself live in the present these days to stay sane!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. indeed Sue! That’s why I put the Castaneda quote there, but every so often a triggered memory can just tug at you!! It’s a bittersweet joy to write these things down though!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sue says:

        Agree….

        Liked by 1 person

  28. Nice post; and atmospheric shots!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Many thanks Harrie!!

      Like

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