My daughter shifted from me and placed a finger where I had pointed, saying to her friends in the back seat, “This is where we are going.”
My eyes returned to the road and I scowled at the map’s limitations. A bunch of geographic lines and bold colors could never depict the shoreline’s simple beauty. Not even a well-crafted painting, a photograph, or an eloquent poem would do. One had to see it in person. I surmised that even the most flamboyant personality, confident from worldly travels, would turn speechless and introspective at the sight of Lake Michigan’s endless fresh water, blustery skies, and shifting brown sands. Surely, frequent visitors and permanent residents never grew immune. And I, who had spent five youthful summers along that chart of blue and brown, wanted my companions to understand how profoundly it had impacted my life. As a confused teen on a downward spiral, it was there I had learned to soar beyond limitations, to formulate dreams for the future, and to find the strength to carry them out. As a result, thirty years hence, amid new fears and anxieties, I struck cross-country like a lost soul seeking the light.
Same as then, ripples of change invaded my complacent life, forcing me to grow. I sensed time running parallel to a distant place of memory where the echo of feminine voices haunted a stretch of beach and outlined my youthful struggle. I had resisted back then until the ripples formed a towering waterspout, very real and defined, to gain my attention and force my direction. Now I faced the future from a precipice of fear and grief, feeling empty and rudderless. Somehow, I believed this trip would get me around it, through it, or over it, by showing me what I had lost.
I could never say this aloud. I risked complete adult alienation too early in our journey. So, I held quiet, remaining grateful to have my daughter and her friends along. They emboldened me, giving me the courage to fulfill this desire made especially strong after my mom’s passing.
Nancy S. Kyme is the CFO of a small corporation in Northern Virginia, is a Certified Public Accountant and holds a Masters Degree in Business Administration. Also a mother of two grown children and a military wife, she credits camp for her success as an adult and has written for decades to entertain friends and family.