Thursday, July 28, 2016

Meet the world's best daydreamer

     After turning in my column, Monday afternoon I went out for a boat ride on Canandaigua Lake and declared, “I am going to do nothing.”
     Could that be humanly possible? My Type A personality fought the idea like an octopus grabbing hold of its prey and not letting go.
     I wasn’t steering the boat, nor was I planning on doing anything active like waterskiing or tubing.
     My mind dove into slow mode in between bits of conversation with my friend, the boat’s captain; I permitted my thoughts chart their own course.
     By the way, don’t invite this writer out on a boat if you want a chatty afternoon. My friend, a writer also, understood and we saved our major talk until later on her patio.
     Summers are meant for relaxing and appreciating our surroundings.

     Certainly, cruising along the shore there is a lot of observing – gawking might be the better term – at the huge mansions commanding a view of tiny specks of humanity in party boats, cruisers and kayaks in comparison. Water equipment for every whim is lined up neatly at the docks beside giant urns filled with seasonal flowers covering every inch of real estate.
     Bucketfuls of earth had been rearranged for a number of these structures nestling into the tight space between water and road. As a longtime resident of the area, my friend gave me a running commentary on why certain of the homes were built to accommodate zoning laws vs. nature.
     Gazing out to the southern part of the lake, I am reminded of how the Native Americans must have worshipped the serenity and natural beauty of the landforms and waterways. I “see” pictures in my head of paddling canoes and fishing expeditions while women are along the shoreline starting fires for cooking.
      Never one to take anything for granted, I appreciate the lake so much for what it gives us. I am big into the conservation of our natural resources, and water being one of them for future generations.
     Little dips up and down from the wakes of boats racing past – I am a person who easily gets seasick unless I am breathing in fresh air – and I retreat into myself.

     Oh, my. My mind takes me back many years ago when I lived one year on East Lake Road in a modest dwelling overlooking the water, and I was in hog heaven. Glorious sunsets every evening shimmered across the lake through my large picture window.
    That particular winter was brutal. I had a steep driveway, and it is where this woman – I grew up learning to drive on flat land ‒ taught herself how to safely creep down and steer tightly onto the road. Otherwise, I would slide into the lake clutching the wheel in all earnestness. 
     After three days of closed highways due to a major storm, the afternoon the roads opened, two neighbors invited me to pile into their pickup truck destined for Canandaigua to replenish essentials.  We were like chickens escaping the coop to free range.  
     The thing I remember the most about that impromptu adventure was that I got to know neighbors that had just been waving ones before.
     Today, there are still smaller rustic cottages dotted around the lake, and no doubt those have been in families for generations. Owners either deal with higher taxes and all the maintenance, or sell in older age.
     At the harbor in the City of Canandaigua luxury condos are being built to attract more tourists, although the framework for a hotel is stalled looming over the port like a giant winged seabird unable to launch and casting an eerie spell over the lively port.

      Allowing my mind to go free on the boat reminds me that as a kid I was the world’s best daydreamer. If there were a trophy with my name on it, I would have a collection on my bedroom shelf. Maybe I would have taken more pride in dusting off my bookcases if that were the case.
    My mind was somewhere else. I would get popped back into reality when I heard my full name, “Kathryn,” called out.     
     I exasperated my parents and teachers, and even more so because I finished my schoolwork on time despite preoccupation with my thoughts. Those large windows in the classroom with the pull down tan shades were no barriers to where I was in my mind at any given moment.
     If daydreaming wasn’t an acceptable pastime, then I believed punishment was in store for me being a lazy person. It took a while to understand that idleness does not breed laziness.   
     I had my share of bruised knees from not paying attention to the shifts in sidewalk pavement and “talking” to such characters as Huck Finn and Bilbo Baggins out of the pages of favorite novels.
     Readers are great daydreamers, too. I didn’t discover that until much later.
     On the lake I spy a lone teenager hanging out on a raft positioned perfectly on his back for a retreat from the adults. No electronic devices are noticeable.
     Well, of course, as a teacher I recognized the great importance of daydreaming as it relates to creativity and learning. The greatest thoughts need time to jell in the mind.
      A considerable number of ideas drift around in your mind like they did for me on a Canandaigua Lake boat trip. A few are acted upon. Others are thrown out in the water to drift away. Keeping the possibilities afloat are essential when coming in to dock.