There’s snow in the mountains, but it’s almost 70 degrees and I’m in a kayak floating in Lake Tahoe. The water is calm and glassy as I paddle around the rocky point toward Zephyr Cove, hugging the shoreline so I can take in the giant boulders 50 feet below.
Startled by my presence, a flock of common mersangers take off from the lake in a flurry of flapping wings, drawing my attention back up to the snow-covered mountains in the distance.
I have the lake to myself, as far as I can tell. Most of the boats are still in storage for the winter, so there is no fear of any motor boats disturbing my peaceful ride. I take off for the middle of the lake, paddling as fast as I can until my arms begin to burn. I stop and rest the paddle in my lap.
Normally I'd have Daisy perched on the front of the kayak with me. She'd stare back at me skeptically if the kayak rocked in the slightest. But she is back in Red Lake, and today it feels good to move freely and appreciate this scene in silence.
It’s one of those moments where I get that feeling. The feeling that I am exactly where I should be. The feeling that there is no place else I’d rather be. I crave experiences that remind me I’m just one little person in a great big world, or in this case, one little person floating in roughly 36 cubic miles of rain and snowmelt.
There were lots of moments like that this past week. Our friends from Red Lake got to meet our Reno and Bay Area friends. We kayaked, SUP'd, and walked along the beach in almost 70 degree weather. We drove to Grover Hot Springs and went for a hike along a creek with the mountains in the distance. We skied and drank hot toddies. We went out for a nice dinner on Valentine's Day, and I finally got my oyster fix.
No matter how many time we return to the cabin, Lake Tahoe never ceases to amaze me. This, to me, feels like home.
One night I sat on the edge of the break rocks with my camera just as the sun was setting over the mountains and watched as Charlie headed out of the cove on the SUP and two other friends took off in the kayaks. They quickly turned into tiny silhouettes against the sunset reflecting in the water. I snapped away, feeling more inspired than I had felt in months. That night it dumped a foot and a half of snow.
My best friend and I joke that Lake Tahoe is our holy place. It's where our favorite moments have happened. It's where we finally have those face-to-face conversations about life, work, and relationships that provide clarity on certain situations we couldn't have figured out on our own. It's where we feel the most present.
In the summer we'll be back again, this time with Daisy in tow. We'll celebrate the 4th of July and Charlie's Birthday with cliff jumping, frisbee on the beach, and hikes up to the roaring Horsetail Falls. But for now it's back to sub-zero temperatures, our cozy home, and one excited dog who's missed us dearly.