An alligator suns on a log. It’s winter, but we’re in South Georgia, so that means it’s 80 degrees, but perfect.
My parents and I are lounging on Adirondacks on the deck my dad built to surround our quaint cabin on the lake. I’m reading Becoming, and my dog is playing with her tiny ball. Silence.
Silence is exactly what I’ve been searching for.
I can completely unplug — partly because we have no service.
We’re surrounded by trees, which create barriers, nature’s curtain, between us and our neighbors.
Each person gets their own slice of the lake when they join the fishing club.
Since I made my parents empty nesters, they have bounced from project to project. The first was our new dog. My mom said she needed something to take care of.
After two years of raising a puppy, they were ready for their next adventure, which is this cabin on the lake.
Day after day they rode up to Whitewater to scope out the land they bought, and they crafted their plans.
From afar I witnessed the creation of a little home, a place they could escape to when they felt their house was a bit too quiet. They picked a space on a serene lake, so they managed to choose a quieter place than their childless home.
They selected this noiseless location because the silence you experience there isn’t one that is missing a third voice; it’s the kind of silence that charges the air.
It grips you and shakes out all of the stress. It transports you to that happy place in your mind that you picture every time you want to strangle your boss or your class project partner.
This winter break, I experienced the silence. My parents and I stayed for several hours, and we barely spoke to each other. We didn’t need to; that’s not what we were there for. We were there to go to our happy places.
My mom and I read while my dad scanned the lake with his binoculars. We were all doing our own thing, but we were still together. They let me share their haven with them.
The wind stirred up little waves for the ducks to surf. A pontoon boat drifted by, and the fishing line divided the dark water and separated us from humankind.
We were alone in our small corner of the woods. If I yelled, no one would hear me. There were no honking horns or students scurrying with their backpacks. The ambulances of North Charles Street faded from mind, and the overpopulated jungle, also known as Brody, no longer existed.
I was in a dream world. I couldn’t be reached through the little devices we obsess over. I couldn’t even access TikTok.
I only had my book and my family, and for the first time in a long time, I was at peace. I wasn’t shouldering the stress of daily life at school.
I made the decision this year, 2020, to go with the flow. Instead of freaking out about my future and trying to plan the next 10 years of my life, I’m going to enjoy the year and a half I have left on campus and figure out who I am.
I don’t want to pick a path and stick with it, because I have no clue what this world has to offer.
I’m not ready to close myself off to options, and I shouldn’t have to be.
So, I’ve decided to do anything and everything that interests me, and hopefully that will lead me down some incredibly winding road with plenty of forks and bumps.
I don’t want that road to end at one destination. I want it to continue to turn, open up to clearing after clearing and then turn again until the day I die. I never want to settle on one thing, just like the lake.
The lake never settles. Boats are always cruising along, and fish are racing beneath the surface. Alligators splash around, and little kids skip rocks. I’ve decided to live like the lake, ever-changing and filled with unknown.