PERFECT POSTCARD SCENES GREETED US in every direction during our family vacation at Lake Champlain. The rambling, yellow farmhouse shaded by old maples and decorated with red geraniums. A spacious, emerald-green lawn that rolled down to the lakeshore. Pale-blue peaks of the Adirondack Mountains across a bright blue expanse of fresh water. Chicory, Queen Anne's lace, and other wildflowers softening stony, rural roadsides.
It was the kind of restful charm one wanted to put in a box and keep forever. But I was in for a surprise. Another, far more wonderful kind of beauty awaited.
On the last evening of our vacation, my husband and I stepped off the dock into a rowboat, and headed out onto the lake. The sun had slipped below the horizon, but light still lingered in the sky. The dusky was almost palpable. Only the squeak of the oars in the oarlocks and the gentle slapping of small waves against wood broke the evening stillness. We, too, were silent. And as we drifted in the middle of a bay, a kind of mental quietness, settled over me.