Just down the road, past the old oak tree that used to stand on Mrs. Mosby’s yard, turn to the left and go about a mile or so until you can go no further. There, through the brambles and the tall leafy maples, you just might glimpse the lake at the end of the road. The lake that few people have seen and fewer still that want to go there. Not because it isn’t a beautiful lake, not because it isn’t full of lake trout, which it is, but because it is a lake of sorrows, heartache and missed fulfillment.
The lake is home to a small flock of geese that revel in the peaceful surrounding. Free of fear from hungry predators. Free of fear from hunters that just want to put another notch on their gunstocks. The geese eat the wild grass surrounding the lake while floating on the crystal blue water with the sun shining down upon their white feathers. Truly this is a Norman Rockwell painting or even better, a Thomas Gainsborough landscape.
It sounds magical, maybe even mystical, but the lake is neither. It is just a lake, nothing more. It doesn’t even have a name. As far as sizes go, it just barely makes it as a lake. In some parts of the world, it would only be considered a pond and not even a big pond. There aren’t any deer or elk or moose that come down to drink out of it. There is not a gentle creaking of frogs that fill the night air. Mosquitoes and flies seem to avoid the lake. Other than the lake trout and the geese, the lake is devoid of life.
Sometimes as we go on this journey of life, we tend to forget the why and wherefore of what we are journeying for, not to mention what we are journeying to what end. In the hustle and bustle, we forget what’s important, what’s makes this life worth living. Is the lake at the end of the road the destination or is it just a fantasy?
Heavy thoughts on a rainy weekend for sure, but really, just what else do we have if not the time and the inclination to reflect on life in this, our twilight of years. How often do you spy an old person sitting placidly on the porch of a well-maintained but somewhat worn house? They sit in a comfortable chair or sofa or even in a rocking chair, staring off into space. Not seeing, but at the same time seeing more than you or I will ever know. Are they still searching for the lake at the end of the road? Peering through the brambles and leafy maples, but knowing deep in their soul that they never made it to the lake.
Pondering the choices they made in life, wondering if things would have been different if they had chosen this path or that path. A somewhat pointless exercise it may seem, but truly can it be pointless if it just might provide insight into what took them to the shady porch in the warm summer afternoon? The person on the porch may have a chance to realize that the lake at the end of the road is not that far away, even a chance to see a glimpse of it out of the corner of the eye. They may even in a moment of insight realize just what the lake at the end of the road means.
For all of us, there is an end. Whether it be heaven, hell or something in between. I would like to think it is the lake at the end of the road where the trout always bite amid the gentle honking of the geese. Where bugs and mosquitoes are never there. I’ll finally be at peace with my heartache, my sorrows and missed opportunity. One day, I hope to finally find the lake at the end of the road.