“But Mom you promised!” One summer evening in 1992 when my sons were thirteen and six I arrived home much later than I’d expected from a meeting with a curriculum publisher in Pittsburgh. I had told the boys we’d leave for a week at our family’s Moose Lake cottage as soon as I got back. After my plane landed and I’d driven home we spent several hectic hours doing laundry, grocery shopping and packing up the car. It was nearly 10 pm when we were finally ready.
“Let’s go to bed and head out to the lake in the morning,” I said. The boys insisted, “but Mom you promised we would go tonight. ”
“Okay,” I agreed, “but you will have to keep me awake while I drive.” My six year old took his responsibility seriously and chattered incessantly on the trip filling me in on everything that had happened at home during my five days in Pittsburgh.
We arrived at the cottage around midnight and the boys suggested we sit on the dock for a bit before going to bed. The air was soft and warm and the water absolutely still. A full moon cast a pathway of dancing light on the lake. My younger son was on my lap and my thirteen year old leaned against my shoulder.
We sat all still and quiet like that for about ten minutes and then my older son whispered, “Just listen to the silence Mom.”
I am so thankful to my parents for maintaining a family cottage, a place where my sons could experience the wonder of the natural world…… the slap of a beaver’s tail, the brilliant color of a wild flower patch, the call of the loon, the stalwart beauty of a stand of birch, the graceful flight of a heron and………… the absolute quiet of a moonlit night.