Our first stop was the lake where we spent our summers as kids. Our grandparents had a place overlooking the water and a motorboat. They took us out on the lake to ski every morning with our cousins and aunts and whoever was visiting, and those summers spent crowded in a boat and running barefoot on the hot gravel, walking down to the marina store for ice creams (and splurging on It’s-Its when Grandma and Pop-Pop were particularly generous with their spare change), going out in the boat to look for deer at dusk on the rare and special evenings when Pop-Pop relented to our begging, sleeping on cozy mattresses lined up next to each other on the floor in beds we would make up each night and clear away each and every morning are what defined those childhood summers.
My grandparents warned us that it wouldn’t be the same, which we already knew. Nothing ever is, but when we arrived late afternoon, rented a boat, and my sister was the first to dive back in, she was grinning when she came back up. “The water is the same!” she announced, and it was: in smell, in taste, in color. There is nothing in the world so perfectly refreshing and nothing that makes absolutely everything feel so precisely right.