We've been to our place on the lake a hundred times (well, not exactly, but close). I love the familiarity of watching the birds chat at the feeder when it rains and the squirrels aren't draining the food. The way the gravel in the driveway pinches when I take the three steps to the garage to get a cold water, the fawn leaping out of my way when I take the 4-wheeler out for an early morning cruise, and the comforting smallness of the cabin.
Our love for the lake isn't about speeding across the open water for miles, it's about relaxing, exploring and for some of us, fishing. And for me, the only and best exercise possible for anyone suffering from chronic illness - swimming. A way to work my muscles against the resistance of the water and restore a bit of strength to my aching limbs. So, we go to the same cove most of the time. If we're early enough there's privacy and it's stunningly beautiful. I never tire of the endless detail in the rocks, trees with roots that continue to nourish despite threading along above ground. Labor Day is a crazy time to go to Lake Cumberland, as with any holiday weekend the traffic increases exponentially. But it was our last chance and I couldn't let the summer end without one more swim in my cove. So, we put the boat in at 9 a.m. and back out at 2 p.m. when the lines are stretching up far beyond the parking area.
Last summer they raised the water level 20 feet after finishing repairs to the dam, which created a new, tiny cove previously tucked out of sight. The Saturday-night storms created beautiful waterfalls and Sunday we discovered a new one. Instead of admiring it from the water we hiked up the creek through the cold, shallow water until we were a quarter-mile in and wishing we had a camera. The stillness, the rare, untouched quality, the frogs and ferns and forks in the creek that twisted deep into the woods... and then we found this guy, not rare but unlike any caterpillar I'd ever seen. We realized that the familiarity of our surroundings had given way to an entirely new vision. That's how it's supposed to be when you pay attention and look, really examine your surroundings. The detail we miss with every step is astounding and this was a great lesson in learning to really see.
When we finished admiring him, Jim took him back into the safety of the woods, and one day there will be a cocoon and eventually a Citherona Regalis (or Royal Walnut moth) will emerge. Maybe I'll be lucky enough to see him, or another just as beautiful.