Zary Fekete

Here’s what’s true. When you near the shore you smell the lake. Its scent is the mixture of everything surrounding and covering and floating within and around and above it. It means drifting weeds and rounded pebbles that glisten just below the water’s surface. It means fish down there deep in the cool reaches who rise to the surface to explore the sun-warmed shallows when the sun rises each day. It means water bugs who make their home on the tensioned surface and dance across the shiny rift as though it were their own trampoline. It means the ineffable quality of heated air brought about through the summer trick and the fall spell. It is only near the lake where this can be smelled.

Here’s what’s real. When you are far at a distance you see the lake’s water but believe it is sky. You see reflected in its depths the unbearable heights of what is contained above and you lose yourself in the atmosphere which goes up and beyond the limits of what is and was and will ever be. You see the glistening rays quarrel with one another as they reflect off the waves in the morning when they touch down on the winded ripples from the east and you see the beams retreating after they have playfully heated the waters through the day and are now left to gently cool with the coming of the new depths and the new infinity which is the countless starry voids now contained both above and below in the sight you see when you are far. From afar the cords and islands of flowered garlands float across the surface and become their own magical bridges which can never been crossed but permit an imagined land on the distant side which feels real and untouchable at the same time.

Here’s what is. When you fly, as you leave the ground, as you must, you understand how many there truly are. The name of the land comes from the ancestors before it and they must have known, though they had never flown, what the land of sky-blue waters meant as they lived their lives among the lakes and rivers and forests down below. As you rise you see the dotted pools of blue and green if it is spring or summer or autumn, and you see the shattering white of the sheets of ice which cover their surfaces if its winter. You know as you fly that there may be other lands like this one, but this is the only one where you have truly smelled the lake scent and truly seen the sunshine, starry depths and truly taken in the watery heights as well as you have.

If you know these truths than you are ready to take your canoe and oar and slowly drift into the center and hear the cry of the loon. Once you are done paddling you can lay back against the slow cradle of the craft and see now the clouds above which before were reflected below. You know in that moment what it is to be held between two worlds…or rather, two seas. The sea of the sky and the sea of the lake. You know you are in this land.