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Crescent Lake, Raymond

To come to the lake on a Tuesday, during COVID, is like a secret, like a special privilege we’ve been granted. On this gorgeous day of June, heading into Father’s Day Weekend, “Popeye” expertly lifted our kayaks down from the car roof. He’s had much practice. And….he’s strong.

We stuffed the kayaks with our paddles, tiny cooler, waterproof box for keys and phones, life vests, and sunscreen. We’ve moved up to #30 at this age. Frank says a higher number than that would be….a shirt.

I’m giddy, like the girl I once was, when I come to Crescent Lake. This lake is as much a part of my soul as my introversion, love for nature and quiet, and my partner-in-life of now-odd 45 years.

I dip into the water at the boat dock where we put in, slick back my wet hair, and slip inside my kayak, ready to head out. This lake, on this day, is stunning. We’ve been sheltered-in-place for three months now, but blessed to be living in Maine, not forced to stay inside. Blessed to live in a place where nature and space abound. Kayaking Crescent Lake over the next five hours was perfect social-distancing.

We meander up the right side of the lake, remark on the new lake houses or upgrades since our last visit. We take our time. Camp Nashoba, the exclusive kids’ camp, is completely empty, not allowed to open during COVID-19 and no parents daring enough to send their kids to a community spot. We pull ashore on their white sand beach for another quick dip in the lake. The day is hot. The lake water is warm for June, and, as always, clear and clean and brilliant.

How we love Crescent Lake.

My partner and I are so in sync that we don’t even need to speak. We paddle a bit, then pause to drift and hang out, rest, look around us, breathe in our gorgeous surroundings and fresh air. My mind wanders. The sky is royal blue today, lake is sparkling blue and green, trees and hills ringing the lake are emerald green, lush and verdant so early in the summer season.

We paddle to the point of land we had hoped to buy at one time. $500k for 1 acre of land was way beyond our ability, but not for someone. A modern lake house has been built, not in the spot we would have chosen on the property but due to ordinances, it may have been required. They now have a sturdy dock with a flowering plant adorning it and a ring of Adirondack chairs and firepit just above, on the land at the end of the dock. They seem settled. It’s a beautiful spot. We’re happy we can enjoy it even if just from the lake itself. We’re likely both thinking what might have been.

We paddle further down the lake, beyond the island to our left. Then, we come across, to eat our tuna sandwiches on the sandbar leading from the island to our camp road. I was sometimes nervous to cross the lake; it’s further than it looks. But today, it is really quiet. We’ve seen only one or two boats out all day.

We take our time paddling through the cove we named “Perch Haven” when our sons were small and Frank would take them fishing here. A loon has been trailing us since the sand bar, just checking us out, and showing off his beauty.

It’s the point of the old camps that brings us to this lake so as near, we pause to check out all the changes. Uncle Jack’s camp has been updated – new dock and float, weeds cleared from the lake, new deck.

Down at the point of the property is completely overgrown. That’s a shame. That was the secret spot where we kept chairs permanently – a favorite spot to sit alone and watch the lake early mornings or as the evening sun began to drop in the sky.

Around the point, Uncle Harold’s camp has been let go. It’s completely overgrown, the dock hasn’t been put in the lake, it looks abandoned or little used. A shame. What wonderful memories we have of coming to this camp. I take another dip here in the lake that I still remember so vividly, and my memories of my kids here come flooding back – such happy times. We who don’t own camps or beach houses always wonder how any family could let them deteriorate and not care for such a special gift.

Order of the day is being alone, slow moving, taking a pause, making time, making a moment last. Enjoying fresh air, vivid colors, cool water, and sunshine on my face. And letting the rush of beautiful memories permeate my mind. That and nothing more.

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