A Waterfall, a River, a Wave, a Ripple — third draft

A Waterfall, a River, a Wave, a Ripple

I’m lying on the beach, completely soaked, though my jeans are rolled up as high as they can go. The sand gets tangled in my hair. I know I will probably never get it all out. As I stare up at the sky, smiling, I think of nothing. Complete silence. The only thing I’m aware of is the water. I can hear the waves crashing in every 10 seconds or so. I can feel the cold sting of Lake Huron as it reaches my toes. From time to time, the waves buried me completely and I had to quickly hold my breath. All of my stress and worries are washed away with the tide.

This is my happy place. If you haven’t already noticed for yourself, life isn’t always easy and sometimes you just need a break. Whether it’s the pressure from work, or the huge pile of homework I have to complete for Monday, or maybe an argument has been haunting me, or maybe I just put my slippers on the wrong foot. Whatever my issue, I can resolve it in my happy place. That place is by the lake.

I discovered my love for the water at a young age. I took swimming lessons and was always top of my class. I went through the sprinkler in April when there was still snow on the ground. I swam until my fingers were pruned and my lips were blue. It was always a tool through which I found a certain comfort. Though much of my swimming was done in a pool, absolutely nothing compared to the beach.

My grandparents have retired to their cottage in Bruce County and are about a minute or two walk away from the most beautiful beach. Upon arriving, there is a small parking lot, used mainly by families that have too much stuff to haul by foot. An elderly couple is resting on a nearby bench preparing to watch the sunset over Chantry Island. Off to the side, a group of kids are bickering over whose turn it is next on the swings. A Frisbee zings by my head and falls into the creek where I used to, and still do from time to time, go frog hunting along that area (don’t judge, it’s pretty fun). A few canoes and kayaks belonging to nearby residents are resting in the tall grass, awaiting their next adventure. Since Lake Huron usually has a fairly low tide, the beach is enormous and stretches on for as far as the eye can see. Off to the side, barely visible in the raging waves, is a large rock that I call my mermaid rock because it reminds me of the one on which Ariel is perched in Disney’s The Little Mermaid. I love to swim out and sit on it when I’m upset. The waves are more aggressive out there — they haven’t yet lost their momentum.

This past summer, I was eager to go visit my grandparents so I could go for a nice, long walk on the waterfront. My mother and I had been arguing a lot the last few weeks and I was ready to get a change of scenery. It was nothing too serious, just typical parent-child stuff. I kept leaving my shoes out and she was tripping over them, I left my clothes in the dryer when she wanted to do laundry, you know, those sort of things. Nevertheless, I was fed up.

When I got to the beach, I was shocked to find that it wasn’t there. The tide was abnormally high for some reason this year and there was hardly any visible sand at all. My mermaid rock had been swallowed by the hungry waves. Disappointed, I returned to the cottage.

That night, my mother and I got into it again. She said I wasn’t trying my best in school. In hindsight, I probably shared one too many bar stories with her. That’s probably why she thought I was some hooligan who did nothing but drink and wreak havoc. She droned on and on about it until I cracked. Almost in tears, I stormed out of the cottage. I decided that I was going to take that walk whether there was enough room to or not. So I rolled up my jeans and walked the path I normally would have, only this time in nearly knee-deep water. I was so frustrated, I wasn’t paying much attention to my surroundings. Before I knew it, I was falling down and suddenly was submerged in the water. Fully clothed, with my cell phone in my pocket. At this point, I just gave up. I crawled to shore and laid in the sand, the whole 30cm of it, for what felt like hours. I just stared up at the sky, angry at life. Eventually, I felt nothing. I forgot I was angry. I didn’t even realise I stopped thinking about my anger until a huge wave covered my face and I got water up my nose. When I did realise it, though, I started laughing. Hysterically. It might have been a little creepy if you were a bystander, now that I think about it. I was laughing because I realised how silly it was to be angry. If I could forget about it in such a small amount of time, it wasn’t worth the time I spent worrying about it in the first place. This was a moment of personal growth that I will never forget. I started appreciating water in a different way. Just hearing the sound of flowing water has become my happy place. A waterfall, a river, a wave, a ripple. It reminds me that life goes on and to not take things too seriously. I know I’m a good student. I do my homework, I get good grades, and I go to class (most of the time). My mom was just being a concerned parent looking out for my best interests. I just need to do what I think is best and not preoccupy myself with negative energy. When I do slip, my spot will always be there. So, I laid there, thinking of nothing, staring up at the sky, smiling, listening to the waves crashing onto the shore, feeling the cold water tickle my toes, while the sand latched itself permanently onto my hair. Everything was okay.

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