RECORD STORE TALES #1063: Life is Like a Lake
Over the course of 51 years on the shores of Lake Huron, I have witnessed the power of nature and the change it brings every season. Change is the one constant in life, isn’t it? For better or worse, everything changes. Nothing can remain static. Things wear and decay, and are eventually replaced by newer, younger things. This is obvious every spring on the shores of Huron. The coast changes, the rocks, the trees, everything. In a way, life is like a lake.
When we returned this spring, much had changed. The seasons are unrelenting. We found several large rocks, freshly cracked, and sharp like blades. Over the summer and fall, water found its way through microscopic cracks in the stones. Over winter, it froze and expanded, breaking rocks clean in half. The remnants are like ancient stone cutting tools, sharp and jagged. In a way, that’s parallel with relationships. Sometimes things set in, year after year, until they eventually expand and crack the relationship in two. I’ve experienced this recently. The edges that cut are still painful.
Things die over the winter. Some young trees do not survive. Older ones fall, only to become firewood for the coming year. Just like life, and the losses we experience more and more as we get older. It never gets easier. It’s a matter of picking up the pieces are carrying on.
The only constant at the lake is change. Eternal change. This is especially obvious when you look back at old photographs. The lake levels change, the beach is covered with rocks one year, and sand the next. The changes cannot be predicted, except that the land will change. Where men once pushed the forest and weeds back, now they encroach again when left untended. It’s quite amazing how quickly nature can retake a patch of land left untouched. Just like life. Neglect an aspect of your life, be it physical or mental, and you will notice the difference. Life must be worked, at constantly, or you will lose what you gained.
Some years, there is more life than others. Some years, wild turkeys. Other years, foxes. Perhaps the foxes scared away the turkeys. Once in a while we’ll have a dear, or a bear. Raccoons, porcupines and skunks are common. When the animals disappear, you can only guess as to why. Kind of like being “ghosted” in life. Sometimes they return unexpectedly. Always a delight. Like a friend returning after a long absence.
One thing that is clear at the lake: You cannot return to the past. The past is gone, like the ghost of a memory. Things only move forwards, not backwards. The massive winter ice sheets we used to get are gone now, likely never to return in my lifetime. The rivers carve away the landscape, leaving different shapes. The cliffs we used to walk as kids no longer exist, or are now on inaccessible private property, built over and paved. There is no return. Those things are gone.
And that’s life in a nutshell.