savoring the year: summer at the lake {22/365}

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Embrace the joys of summer by dancing, swimming, sailing, wriggling your toes in the sand, or even just feeling the sun on your face.

I love summer. California summer to be exact because it is not the same everywhere. It has its own smell that draws out memories and curates new ones, like long summer nights and the smell of water running from a sun heated hose on to plants and toes. 

Oceans and lakes and rivers and pools have always been some of my favorite things.The beach is my favorite with its salty air and almost always guaranteeing a breeze. In high school Santa Cruz and its famous boardwalk became an essential part of summer.  

It started with a trip with Kristina and Matt and their dad and my then boyfriend Dave and Ricardo and his little brother, Chris, all picked in their Astro van. Kristina's dad entertained us on the way there with sing alongs and funny stories and allowing us to decide which route to take, through the city or ocean view. We played mini golf, where I somehow managed to get a hole in one and lose my ball in the same game.  We swam in the ocean and laid in the sun and posed for silly pictures of fake shark attacks and riding on kiddie toys.We stopped on our way home and ate at Onos, a local sea food restaurant. After much resistance, I hesitantly tried raw fish for the first time and was not a fan like I was sure I would not be.

The following summer Ricardo and I and Chris and Manny and Senia and Maria, embarked on our own adventure piling in to his parent's suburban and started the two and a half hour drive, my sister and her boyfriend following along in his truck.

We played more mini golf and took up the arcade, watching the boys work up a sweat over Dance Dance Revolution. We ate strawberry funnel cakes, over flowing with powdered sugar and vanilla ice cream and walked up and down the boardwalk, taking in the overcast weather.

We stopped at Onos on the way home, trying to remember how to get there before GPS was on available on our smart phones. As we attempted to navigate, we wound our way down highway one during its reconstruction, with my sister leading the way. They entered a do not enter zone; their truck disappearing as we looked at each other in the suburban hoping there was not a cliff of the other side of the signs. We stopped to turn around as the sun set and hoped their car would return unharmed.

The truck headlights returned, after what seemed like forever and we gave up on our search for dinner, just as we passed it on the high way. We turned around and enjoyed some food, no fish for me this time around, accompanied by horrible service. We paid the bill leaving no tip and started walking to our cars, when the waiter approached us in his apron, stating because there was so many of us, we had to leave a mandatory tip, though it was not disclosed anywhere on the receipt or menu. We stood in disbelief, refusing to pay, when I gave in and paid what he said was owed to stop all the awkwardness of it all and vowing not to come back.

We laughed and drove home, almost getting crushed on our way in to San Francisco through the tunnel bridge.

And each year we have returned, Ricardo and I, a little older and a little more lured by its magic and fun and its symbol of summer and our youth. It is where we eventually said I do and ran in to its waves, wedding rings fresh on our fingers and my lips turning blue from its cold afternoon wind. It is a little spot in our story filled with sand and sun and enchantment. 

Here's to all things summer. 

This is part of a 365 day blogging series through Savor by Shauna Niequist. If you would like to blog along, whether daily or weekly, I would love to have you for the journey; be sure to link back to the post. And if you are not a blogger, you can join along, too. Just leave your response and answers in the comments.
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