It was as though I was seeing things twice, once as I saw them 20 years ago, 30. Trapp Lake, where Margaret Stuart rode the new mare home from Cherry Creek Ranch in my novel, Sisters of Grass, dust rising from the mare’s shod feet, the late spring air redolent with new sage. Twice, the hills above the lake, the reflection in the lake, twinned so precisely that I couldn’t tell where the actual shore line was, where the water began. Take me back, take me back, the years when I was a young mother, the van filled with voices, the dog panting in the back, on our way to Kamloops to wander its streets, to walk along the Thompson River, join me at the point where the road descends from Knutsford, the old buildings twinned with their newer versions. Join me? I wish you were here.
When we arrived at Nicola Lake around 4, I put my bathing suit on in the small change room and walked directly into water. It was cold but have I ever felt that alive? I felt that alive 20 years ago, or 30, when I walked down to the shore with my children from our campsite, our black dog Lily on a leash. I’d sit at the picnic table and scribble into a notebook. I wanted to write everything at once–the sound of the Clark’s Nutcrackers, the astringent scent of sage, the yellow of rabbitbrush. Once we saw a calf being born in the field beside the road to the campsite. This was in February. We weren’t camping but we went to the shore for a picnic and it was so warm and dry that we all reclined in the grass under the pines. Once we saw a black bear running up the hill where a volcano left its pitted rocks behind. Have I ever felt that alive? I wish you were here.