Sometimes when I wake up in the morning, the lakes deep, dazzling blue waters sparkle iridescently, brighter than the sun. Sometimes when I wake up in the morning, the lakes deep blue waters are turbulent, choppy and murky. Sometimes when I wake up in the morning, the lakes deep blue waters are soft, fluid, primordial and brimming with possibility. When I walk down by the lake, the beach is scattered with pebbles. Pebbles of all sizes and shapes. Some are metamorphic, some are igneous, and some are sedimentary. Some pebbles are smooth, but others have sharp, unforgiving curves to them. I pass a rugged pebble as dark as the sky just before the dawn rises. Another pebble is as white as a snowdrop, and its sheen gives off a ghostly light. A bubbly yellow pebble catches my eye; its tiger printed streaks encapsulating the elusive mysteries of the earth’s core.
The lake today is steady. Its waters meander and drift, looking for self-definition for purpose for meaning. It reflects the sky considering its past, present and future. It’s placed within a myriad of ox-bow lakes, sills, glaciers, scarps, mesas, u shaped valleys and volcanic plugs. The sky is occluded, grey and whimsical. The lake projects this image onto its trembling surface, ever wondering what else exists beyond the borders of the surrounding valleys. What secrets does that sky hold?
The lake changes and alters and adapts and shifts, falling between the cracks of reality and illusion. No two days are the same for the lake. Bright yellow anarachas paint the shoreline as tourists have picnics and fishermen fish. Little orange buses drive past lazily on the preordained route they were always born to follow. The camera of the tourists clicks and clicks some more. They take a thousand photos but will only ultimately post one on Facebook, which will fade in amongst the kaleidoscope images of baby photos, graduation photos, family days and a nice meal out with friends until the picture of the serene lake disappears altogether.
The lake appears still. Yet underneath, the currents twist and turn frantically, pure energy diverting deeper into the lake with nowhere to go, verdant reeds like bubble wrap float melodically, schools of fish wiggle their tails, projecting them in any direction. There is much more to the lake than the tourists see; the fishermen glance and the tourist buses take in.
I decide to skim some pebbles across the surface of the lake. People tend to do that when they’re beside lakes. Why? Because it’s fun, out of curiosity, or to give meaning and structure to their lives. Because it’s what we all do. And what would we be without chucking a pebble into the lake? I pick up a rough grey pebble. I wonder whether it’ll bounce or skink. But it’s a risk I have to take. If I don’t skim it across the lake, I’ll never know. And I think that would be worse. There are a hundred thousand pebbles on the beach. Surely some of them will be good ones. Some of them will sink or bounce. Each pebble is different; each pebble has a unique story to tell, each pebble feels a different way in your hand, and whatever you feel with that pebble, you won’t find it in another. Some pebbles surprise you, and others can disappoint. But there are a hundred thousand pebbles on the beach. A hundred thousand, maybe even more.
Some pebbles bounce further along the lake than others. Maybe that’s because of the way I held them, or the faith I placed in them, or the connection I felt with them. After they’ve skimmed the lake, they tumble into the deep depths of currents, reeds, and schools of fish and water. So much water. They come to rest at the bottom of the lake. The ones that sink do the same. They are intertwined with the lake. They form a part of its story, its history, its perspective. It’s a journey. More tourists visit the lake in pink anarachas, more tour busses drive past frantically, and more fishermen cast their metallic rods into the lakes surface. They don’t see the pebbles at the bottom of the lake.
I skim more pebbles. One is almost a soft red colour. Its texture is bumpy. I was drawn to it because of the colour. Its sharp edges cut my fingers, but it feels right in my hand. Another is darker with little specs of white crystal that resemble all the stars in the night sky. I love the way it chaotically bounces along the surface of the lake like a springer spaniel. Another pebble is of a soft brown hue and looks invitingly up at me. It skims across the lake, just splashing the surface calmly. Each pebble is different. Each has a different story to tell. The lake retains the memories and stories of the different pebbles, each one forming part of the lake and, therefore, its self-definition. The bottom of the lake is filled with pebbles.