Living a Fascinating Life

The ring of the old clock strikes the top of the hour. A hammer on old springs, barely has any life left after chiming atop the old fireplace for so long, but still wound once a week as it has been for the past 120 summers. Furniture made of sticks and woven tree bark has accompanied the clock for the journey in this old camp. The bead and board walls and the ceilings are carefully angled to create designs, and the giant stone fireplace in the center of the living room is the only warmth for a cold day. A Giant Mirror Glancing out the old diamond-shaped windows through pine branches, I see the lake is still and reflecting like a giant mirror, showing the pine-forest shoreline and the blue-and-white sky with a layer of brightly lit mist along the horizon. I sit here in the octagonal window seat, warming myself in the sun. The dogs, Weasley and Chewey, are snuggled into the wool blanket beside me. About the only thing we’ve added to this place are a few old-looking paintings, my guitar, which sits nestled in the corner, and a new family. Badge of Courage I’ve been reading a


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My cold skin is instantly warmer as I sit in the sun-baked 100-year-old Adirondack chair on the old stone porch next to the dock. Once the foundation of a lakefront house that burned decades ago, this porch has a view across a vast lake, reflecting the blue overhead and the distant forests that surround it. The water is splashing against the shore from the wake of an old aluminum rowboat en route to the next secret fishing hole. The roaring sound of its 1950s-era outboard motor briefly disrupts the chirps from the branches above. As it passes, the cheery chirping returns. Sly and the Family Stone Pondering memories created here at the lake with the family, I’m reminded of a song from my youth, “Hot Fun in the Summertime.” The kids will never forget their summers here, sailing across the lake with friends, cruising in speedboats towing inner tubes or skiers, hiking the deep forests, even cleaning up garbage cans invaded by rogue raccoons and bears. Though my own lake memories growing up did not involve bears, forests, or raccoons on Lake Wawasee, in Indiana, I can remember the freedom I felt driving the boat as fast as I could,


One Thing to Change Your Life This Summer

Flashes of lightning so powerful they illuminate the dark billowing clouds in the sky, creating a late Independence Day fireworks display. Faint and distant roars of thunder continue as if they’ll never end, with an occasional boom for effect. On Golden Pond I’m rubbing my hands together to warm them in the cold front that traveled in with the rains, yet I cherish this old screened-in porch so much, I cannot skip a morning here. Each morning I come here with my coffee and my breakfast, and it’s where I end each day to enjoy the warm afternoon light as it floods the distant trees with orange. After dinner, it’s where I sit to enjoy the silence, with an occasional welcome interruption from the cry of the loons. This is Golden Pond. Three Views The porch is an octagon with lake views in three directions, views of the old moss- and pine-bough-covered shingle roofs in another direction, and the old lakefront fireplace on the other side. Once there stood a boathouse, when ladies wore long white dresses and men in ties and seersucker suits and round straw hats stepped into the old launch to properly cruise these lakes. Today the


What Owns You?

A reddish orange glow filled the sky like a Hudson River School scene — a sunrise so brilliant and so colorful, no one would believe it in a painting. The light streamed in through my window, awakening me far too early, as summer sunrises do. Covers over my head, I managed to fall back to sleep and get a couple more hours. Now, on this old porch, the sun is brilliantly reflecting off the water like a Joseph McGurl painting, shimmering into my eyes directly in front of me. The tick of the old Sessions clock from the living room fills my ears on this otherwise quiet morning. Birds frolic through the trees and there is complete stillness on the lake, the water barely moving. The first savory sip of my coffee is flavor-filled and glorious. If you close your eyes and take a sip, it makes a regular, mundane thing seem spectacular. Purging Paintings This morning my back is scolding me for abusing it yesterday as I moved stacks and stacks of old paintings out of storage in the boathouse into the old workshop, my new makeshift art studio. Since my mother’s passing and my goal to purge things


Is Perfect Life Balance Possible?

Like black lace silhouetted against the bright sun, branches of delicate pine trees fill the view from the old screened-in octagon-shaped porch beside the lake. The shrieking yet soothing sound of loons crying out with melancholy melodies echoes off the faraway banks. I can faintly but clearly hear the voices of fishermen in the distance, yet I can barely make out their boat, suspended in the dense morning fog. History Continues Summertime has transported me to my muse … the lake in the vast Adirondack park, with its mountain views, deep forests, and a blanket of quiet. This porch was built in 1896, just 30 years after the Civil War. Over the last 123 years, this porch has shared its old, worn wicker rocking chairs with seven different families and their friends, some of whose descendants still live on this lake. Though the old wooden beadboard walls can’t talk, a treasury of old photos with notes and explanations tells the story of this camp, its owners, its old wooden boats, and buildings lost in fires, moved, reconstructed, and remodeled. The very chair I sit in, along with most of the furnishings, have passed from owner to owner, because they belong


Seeking Lifetime Moments

The lake is still, reflecting like a giant mirror of rich blue cloud-filled morning sky. Cool air meeting the warmth of the water produces a thin layer of fog dangling over the glass, muting the colors of the dark forest greens and converting them to shades of blue gray. Ripples interrupt the stillness as the feet of a raptor swoop down to snatch up a small fish lingering right below the surface. In the distance a purple blue mountain hails from above, calling me to climb her.


The Gift of Friendship

Trying to stay warm, I’m in my red flannel “buffalo check” pajamas. A fire is roaring in the old stone fireplace of this 100-year-old house. Above me, an “out of service” canoe, as old as the house, hangs from the rafters, displaying the beauty of its wooden slats and craftsmanship. The windows, fogged with mist, display the deep greens of the forest and old growth trees surrounding the house. Birds tweet feverishly, and the giant 600-year-old oak in the front is swaying to the breeze, while its branches reach out to cloak the entire cabin.


Making Dreams Come True

A symphony of birdsong fills the morning air as the early-rising sun streaks through the trees, making long purple shadows and golden light as it hits the tops of the tall grass and pear-shaped cactus. A bright yellow spider makes its way across the glass door of my little brown art studio, probably frustrated after his web across the doorway was deconstructed in a split second. Cool breezes move the trees and chill the air slightly before the afternoon blast of heat melts everything in sight. It will soon be time to escape the summer heat, if just for a week or two. My painters’ event in the Adirondacks, starting this weekend, will be saturated with deep green forests, cushy reddish brown pine needle forest floors, and gushing waterfalls, all waiting to be preserved in paint.


I’m Cured of a Disease

Whiirrrr goes the ceiling fan overhead, trying its hardest to move the thick, hot, sticky air inside the little fenced-in back porch. To my left is a small two-story rabbit cage, complete with a little pet bunny. At my feet lie three dogs, two tiny and one fairly large. Orchards in the garden are in full bloom and the scent fills the air.


An Unexpected Detour

Warm sunshine peeked through a slot in the closed blinds of the bedroom, aiming right for my face as if to tell me it’s time to wake. Covers quickly went over my head, yet the sun had done its job and I could sleep no more. So I meandered to the coffee pot, then made my way to the pollen-covered porch to enjoy the perfect spring morning.


The Perfect Mother’s Day

There are days that, in spite of the bright light, the cheery spring flowers, and the perfect spring weather, are not perceived as they are meant to be. Today, for me, is one of those rare days when I’m a lot bluer than normal.


The Impact of Your Pebble

Spring sprinkles kiss the tall green grass as a light wind makes the stems flow like dancers in unison. The long porch is entertained by the droplets pinging off the metal roof like BB’s. Mindlessly I watch droplets dangle off the branches of wet spring foliage and drop into the puddles below, each drop creating a circle of waves as it hits, pushing farther and farther out from its center until one circle intersects another. These puddles are filled with waves created by the little circles. Though there is science behind the inertia of the droplet, the energy and movement, I can’t help but wonder what purpose they serve.


Eric Rhoads
Entrepreneur, writer, artist, marketer, and speaker.
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