While eating breakfast a few days ago in the restaurant of the A-One Hotel in Bangkok, Thailand, the lazy seventies rock of Steve Miller drifted through the gaps in the morning buffet, taking me back.
Back fifteen, sixteen years, to a lake, and a dock, and a cottage. Near Halliburton, Ontario (where Bill Murray and his comedic gang filmed the first, best Meatballs, back when the world was young), this cottage was (and is). Steve Miller was the music of choice that summer (and the summer before that, and the summer after that), along with Tom Petty and the Grateful Dead, the Traveling Wilburys and the Beautiful South. Us kids would put on the tunes and listen to the beats of our adolescene fade out of tune, one note at a time.
And yet, sometimes there was stillness; sometimes the music was gone. I remember, vividly, sitting on the dock one morning with my friend Mike, the two of us reading our paperback books as the waves leisurely lapped the sides of the dock, begging to be noticed. The dads were probably out fishing; the moms where most likely inside, cleaning up after breakfast. I read my copy of H.P.Lovecraft's strange and horrifying tales of depravity (purchased because there was a recommendation by Stephen King on the cover -- if King blurbed it, I bought it, period). Mike read the novelization of Halloween IV: The Return of Michael Myers. (In those days, the reality of the world, the harshness of the world, was still a source of innocent, escapist fun, and we revelled in that make-believe terror.)
Out on the water, the first boats of the day, towing anxious skiers ready for the fun to begin, occasionally sliced the silent morning in two, but that was fine; that was what summer was for, after all. A light wind pushed at the water and pulled at the pages of our books. Later that day would come our own bout of waterskiing and fishhooks, campfire and music. Later that summer would come school supplies and autumn shoes, velcro binders and coloured pencils. That was fine, too. Everything had its season, we were learning. You couldn't always stay on a dock. You could learn to appreciate the stillness, though, and we did. We learned.
We sat on the dock, under the blue, feeling the wind, listening to the distant roar of a distant boat, as the waves did what waves do: advance and retreat, rise and fall, collapse and ascend -- almost effortlessly, almost gracefully -- in their own, incremental manner.