Hydrated

Hydrated. adjective. According to me (because all of my other sources write obscure definitions about chemistry, which is not the point of this post at all), “Soaked or infused with water. Antonyms: dry, parched.”

In the summer, I am not a smooth-skinned, sun-kissed babe.

I have spatterings of freckles. And scorchy sunburn. And scratchy bug bites. And dry crackly spots.

After the past few marathon weeks at the pool, it’s especially bad. You know your feet are in bad shape when your fourteen-year-old brother makes disgusted comments about the Sahara-like state of your heels. Getting into the pool for 18 days in a row will do that to you.

My soul was a little parched, too.

Until last weekend.

Last weekend, I got an itty-bitty vacation. Praise the Lord, I got to go to the lake.

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The lake looks much like any of the other 10,000 lakes in Minnesota. It’s a dot of water containing hosts of sunfish, an exceptionally weedy bottom, and little nature other than the lily pads at the public access. The furniture in the cabin doesn’t match and beach towels are always lacking. It is ordinary to the extreme. But it’s one of my favorite spots in the whole wide world.

At the lake, I float on air mattresses with my grandma. I ponder whether a toothy Northern Pike might snack on my toes when I fling off the inner tube in the middle of the lake. I get quivery when I strap on skiis and yell “Hit it!” I dangle legs off the dock and read.

If you hadn’t noticed, I spend a lot of time in the water.

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All of this water soaks into my soul, hydrating my scratchy patches. When I’m feeling dry, I get uptight and angsty and overly serious about every dang thing, my days blurring by in a monochromatic stream. It’s then that I need is a bit of lake, where I can scream and splash and ski my inner kiddo out of hiding, the one who is not always responsible and does not have to be productive at every waking moment and is not afraid to run around in swimsuit bottoms all day (even when the cute boy on the jetski drives by).

I’d love to have this freedom and abandon all of the time, the weight soaked from my shoulders and my heart feeling easy-breezy. But that’s not possible. Real life rolls on, the place where I have a pool to manage and swimming lessons to teach and lunch to pack and gas to buy. Sometimes it will drain a girl’s spirit, this whole everyday-life thing.

I think I need to find a closer lake. Like as close as my backyard.

Until that happens, I’m going to be content with using my hours off on home-style vacation activities. When I get in a real life rut, I forget to do what refreshes me and makes me feel awesome. So rather than sitting and staring at the wall (Facebook or otherwise), I’ll read books that resonate, make art (okay, crafts) that add beauty (in my world, anyways), and sit in sunshine and breathe the summer air that slips away too quickly. In a pinch, I think these things will help hydrate me too.

But just in case, I think I’ll head to the lake as much as possible.

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