Morning dawned with the sound of water slapping the lake, and we piled into cars packed high with suitcases and boxes, people clustered and stuffed next to seats holding bags. We've shaken off the dust of the week and pulled off flip-flops worn ragged. The smell of the water still lingers and we've come back with more freckles than we can count, sand between our toes, and hair bleached blonde from the sun. Tonight, we'll unfold rumpled clothes and breathe in the smell of the lake, unpacking memories and stories that we'll tuck away in drawers, hang up in closets, and put away until it is time to pull them out, unfold them gently, and smooth the wrinkled fabrics free of their tales.
For now, we are home. In a house that seems enormous, with the living room filled with half-unpacked suitcases. The laundry is running downstairs instead of the sound of the lake splashing the shore. In the place of the dusty dirt road to grandpa and grandma's cabin, we have a backyard grown tall and green in our absence. We all have a bittersweet taste in our mouths, as we sip water bottles and drink the last of the sweet tea snapples. We are sad to be gone yet excited to be home, and for that reason, we will toss "remember when..."'s around the table for weeks to come, swapping stories like trading t-shirts with your sister. And when the fish fry rolls around, we will pull out the moments we've tucked away and relive them with laughter.
Fifty one weeks until Woodland.