In the late, light night

by Lesley on June 27, 2008 · 6 comments

in friends,travel,writing

We feel asleep at 3:00 a.m. but not before staring out at the calm glass lake as the sunset fell behind the mountain’s backdrop. It was warm in the loft so we all slept on top of our sheets, satisfied with a long evening spent fishing, playing Yahtzee and watching movies. We had nowhere we had to be, nothing we had to do. It’d be the last time, for a long time, life would be this way.

That day we’d seen few other people—which made sense because there were no roads that led to this lake. We were buried deep into Alaska, an hour flight from Anchorage. In a place where porcupines wander up to front door steps and giggly girls in pajamas chase them in the late light night of summer.

Each morning we’d wake up at noon. Breakfasts became lunches, lunches became dinners. In between we ate rice crispy treats that Jenny’s mom made. We weren’t completely alone—Cody had stayed to protect us from the grizzly bears although I don’t doubt that Jenny or Lesa could have taken them down easily with one of the huge guns in their garage. But Cody made us feel safe and helped me catch at least a few fish one night, so we didn’t mind him interrupting our girl time.
In Alaska, time stops. You might say it’s the way the sun works in June, casting shadows at times I wasn’t used to and reflecting clearly off the lake in a way I’d never seen before in California. Time also stopped though because I was in a safe place with women I trusted deeply, wholly. They were the girls I’d woken up next to for several years, who’d listened to me in tears when I called home from cold, lonely France. Katie had proved to me that girls can burp—loudly– and she exhibited a faithfullness and frienship with Christ that was authentic and real. We’d spent so much time together that whenever one of us cut our hair, the other soon followed. And Jenny was our third musketeer. She’d taught me how to apply blush, and sing off key, how to wear your heart on you sleeve and take risks– like perming your hair in 2002. (Clearly, that was a tragic mistake.)

In Alaska, Katie and I were treated to things we’d never seen before. Moose grazing in people’s backyards. Salmon bigger than children. Shamu whales—in the wild! Bald eagles, and movie theatres where you eat dinner at your seat, lonely long roads through deserted land, hidden lakes and private coves only found over snowy mountains. For two weeks, we experienced our friend’s life, as she’d always known it. When we left, somehow I knew it’d never quite be the same. Oh, our friendship is still as beautiful as it was the night in the loft but we’ve never spent that much extended time together in the four years since it passed.

Do you ever wish time could return to you to be relived again? To snag bits and pieces of your past and sandwich them between the best parts of your life now? Today this is my wish. A silly, not practical, girlhood wish to be with my friends again in a place where time stops and the fish jump and the porcupines lead us on wild goose chases around a secret lake where we are all alone.

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5 comments
Trent and Katie
Trent and Katie

Thanks for making me cry!!! I am reeeeally missing you girls right now. I can't complain cause I spent the day on the beach in Cinque Terre but I miss my friends. Trent is a boy and I need some girls!! Thanks for writing so eloquently about that wonderful summer that sometimes feels way too long ago. I loved reliving those crazy, unforgetable moments. You do the best moose impersonation I've ever seen. Love you Lesley! Katie

Katie
Katie

Thanks for making me cry!!! I am reeeeally missing you girls right now. I can't complain cause I spent the day on the beach in Cinque Terre but I miss my friends. Trent is a boy and I need some girls!! Thanks for writing so eloquently about that wonderful summer that sometimes feels way too long ago. I loved reliving those crazy, unforgetable moments. You do the best moose impersonation I've ever seen. Love you Lesley! Katie

Jenny
Jenny

Aww...thanks Lesley! I needed to remember that time...and although I'm appreciating California in a way I don't think I did before, I miss my home - I love the way you wrote about it. That was such a fun time together!

*corinne
*corinne

at times i felt the same way when we were in france. sometimes i do long to relive a time or a period of life, though i love life now. in the summer i still sometimes feel like i should be heading off to high school camp in the santa cruz mountains, to learn and grow and play ping-pong and pool games and meet new friends and sing worship songs for one glorious and exhausting week. i think a beautiful conglomeration of the fellowship and emotions of the sweetest times in our lives will be a bit of what we find in heaven.

Chasen
Chasen

Wonderfully written! Made me long for solid community and long time friends. A piece of me always wants to be in Alaska and I know what you mean when you said time stops there. Gorgeous place.

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  1. […] a leisurely three week road trip to Colorado for friends weddings, followed by a really tough two weeks in Alaska, which remains one of the best vacations of my life. Then, on to reality. 40+ hour work weeks. No […]