Summertime, oh summertime, pattern of life indelible, the fade proof lake, the woods unshatterable, the pasture with the sweet fern and the juniper forever and ever, summer without end; this was the background, and the life along the shore was the design, the cottages with their innocent and tranquil design, their tiny docks with the flagpole and the American flag floating against the white clouds in the blue sky, the little paths over the roots of the trees leading from camp to camp and the paths leading back to the outhouses and the can of lime for sprinkling, and at the souvenir counters at the store the miniature birch-bark canoes and the post cards that showed things looking a little better than they looked.
Escaping the summer heat of the city, following the influence of EB White's Once More to the Lake poem (excerpt above), the Showalter family rented a cabin on Great Pond in Maine's Belgrade Lakes region for a week's vacation from busy life in Baltimore. The Showalter's- Tim, Jill and 10 year old Holden- are friends with my favorite officiant from DC, Amanda Tate (you'll recall she helped me piece together my own wedding ceremony). Amanda made the excellent introduction to this dynamic family who invited me for an evening portrait session at their idyllic lakeside cabin. Dodging heavy rain storms on my drive up, not too far from Portland just beyond Augusta, the skies cleared and allowed us an amazing landscape to get to know each other. It was a blind photo date, of sorts, and a surprise highlight of the summer.
This is their gem of a rental down a windy dirt driveway on Jamaica Point.
Tim, a high school English teacher, has an autographed copy of EB White's Essays.
The cabin, tho old, is well maintained and decorated. Even these potentially tacky plates from around Maine on the kitchen wall seemed to make sense.
Up for anything, the Showalter's climbed on the hammock together (their feet in the opening image above is my favorite from the evening. Too cute!). They all wore madras prints accidentally, but I loved the way they meshed as if planned.
Holden, just nearly 10, was named after Catcher in the Rye protagonist Holden Caulfield (sensing this family's literary love?).
Abandoning their shoes on the dock, they pose with their toes in the water.
And then Holden sheds his shorts for swimming trunks and treats us to a running routine into the water.
He loved this etched stick he found inside the cabin.
A classic Maine LL Bean Boat & Tote bag carries their favorite board games. They played one game each night of their vacation.
They only drink Moxie when in Maine. :)
I couldn't resist capturing that scruff.
The Showalter's invited me to stay for an amazing dinner. Here, Holden helps his dad drain the juice from a coconut.
Waiting for dinner, reading in the loft upstairs.
As dark fell, we sat around the table chatting and eating, telling stories of our lives and learning about each other. It was a wonderful pause in my ordinarily insane schedule of the summer and I smiled the whole drive home, content from such a heart-warming evening.
I took along my son, who had never had any fresh water up his nose and who had seen lily pads only from train windows.
You are a remarkable family, Tim, Jill and Holden. Thank you so much for sharing a bit of your precious time on the lake with me. I will forever remember that night, and add it to the library of memories from spending my own childhood summers at my grandparents' lake house in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire. There's nothing more peaceful, more perfect, as the calm that comes from gazing over a lake- except for the excited conversation with new friends.