Pairs of socks knitted in 2014

  • Roxanne's socks
  • Brian's Cascade socks
  • Shirley's lacy socks
  • striped Meredith socks
  • striped stranded #1

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Lake of ghosts

I grew up about five miles from a popular local landmark called Rock Lake. It's a nine mile-long slit of a lake that was carved by retreating glaciers, and it's ringed by hundred-foot cliffs. There's only four places along the entire lakeshore where the cliffs ease enough that you can get a boat in the water.
Living so close to it, we drove by it a lot. The school bus drove past it four times daily, and the family I baby-sat for lived a couple of miles on the other side of it. Some lakes have seasons, but this one has moods.
It is so deep in parts that the bottom has never been found. The spring floods which feed it each year also bring enough silt that one can only see about a foot into the water before everything is obscured. The frigid water is about 45 degrees year-round, and the glacial gouge that forms the lake acts as a wind tunnel for its legendary sudden storms.
This lake has always reminded me of Elizabeth the First of England: strikingly beautiful, an heir to and participant in a fascinating history, majestic--and very dangerous to take lightly.
Much of the early history of the lake has been lost. The majority of what remains is known only through tall tales, folklore, and the ramblings of old men. Before the white men came, the Palouse Indians who called the land home would camp on its shores. Their legends speak of a fearful monster living within the lake depths, able to overturn entire canoes with one flick of its massive tail.
Chief Kamiakin was buried not far from here. After the white men desecrated his grave, his people reburied him in a secret place near the lake. And a century later, some say he walks the shoreline still.
The generation before my grandparents spoke of the trials of building a railroad along the cliffs above the lake. According to more than one story, feuding between Irish and Chinese railway workers led to uncounted lives being lost to the lake as an entire train sank in its waters.
My parents and grandparents spoke of the prosperity the railroad had brought to the area--and the desolation when it left. And for every happy tale of idyllic fishing trips and beautiful picnics, there was a cautionary tale of those who had misjudged their own abilities in light of the lake's treacherous power--"and were never heard from again."
But what I remember most about Rock Lake are the Easter services. Every Easter Sunday, the various churches from the outlying communities would gather at the lake at sunrise. And amid the slicing wind which always keened like the voices of the souls lost in the lake, we proclaimed the eternal truth: "Christ is risen!" And even the wind would answer back: "He is risen indeed!"

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dear Naomi,

What a great post. The lake sounds a lovely place, and is obviously special to you. I always like going to places which have a similar feel to this place, they remind me that the earth is not the inert place that humanists like to make out, but the handiwork of God, and with a little bit of Him left behind in them.