in lake tahoe the heat doesn’t get all the way through your skin. it sort of just falls over you and stays clinging onto the hairs of your arms, your jeans, your browning shoulders. it’s nice when you’ve lived your entire life with the kind of watery heat that gets into your blood and makes you sweat.
i stayed in my friend’s holiday house in lake tahoe a few months ago. it was summertime and we were so close to the sun my skin burnt for the first time. the trees grew all the way into the sky and in the early morning grizzly bears would wander through the yard. the yard became the lake and on the lake sat a trampoline. when we first arrived we swam out to it and all jumped together, laughing loudly, pushing one another into the lake.
at mealtimes the kitchen would be heavy with smell, the chefs would lay out dishes along the benches and we’d all lick our lips and eat until we had to unbutton tight jeans. sometimes i’d impatiently stand by them as they cooked, excited for whatever was coming.
when i woke in the morning we’d all run down to the boat and go wakeboarding or waterskiing. i’d fall into the lake face first and come up for air laughing.
when i wakeboarded i felt strange, as though the water was really land and i could walk across it. afterwards i’d lay in my swimmers on the deck of the boat listening to music and soaking in the warm.
we had a tennis coach who gave me lessons some afternoons, she was flown from australia and hearing the familiarity of her accent was a little piece of home in an blissfully unusual world. when the sun was long gone we’d sit in the hot tub, drinking red wine and watching for shooting stars. it felt like we were in the middle of the woods. there was a meteor shower and the sky caught on fire.
one dayi took my camera with me kayaking across the lake. there was so little between me and the water that my heart sat in my throat the entire time. but i clung to my camera like i needed it to live and finally pulled into the rocky beginnings of the yard without regret.
i fell in love with the people and the lake. everything just breathed there. just when i thought i’d lost feeling it gave it all back to me, fistfuls of it. it was the most beautiful summer.