Lac Ste. Anne, AB - Reg Johanson
My Watermark is Lac Ste. Anne, Alberta.
My grandparents had a cabin at Alberta beach, a village on Lac Ste. Anne. It is fed by the Sturgeon River and run-off from the fields. My grandparents had a cabin there from the early sixties until they sold it in the nineties.
Some of my earliest memories are of this lake. It was the first water to make my shoes wet, my first experience of squishy feet; a toy boat got away from me and floated beyond my reach. I was scolded for these, I guess because I had been told to stay away from the water without an adult present and I had snuck away and was flirting with it, testing its boundaries, seeing what it could do. How far could I go and still touch the bottom? Farther and farther every summer.
I liked the lake when it was quiet. But it was seldom quiet. people didn't go there for quiet. They went there to run motorboats, motorbikes, chainsaws, lawnmowers, skilsaws and, in winter, skidoos. I hated the sound of small engines. I hated especially the violent jerk on the ripcord that was necessary to start them.
I think of the lake as it darkens under a storm. The wind is picking up, the waves are getting bigger and the water is grey, like iron. I see my brother and my cousin playing in the waves after its already got too cold for me. They don't seem to notice the cold. The storms can get fierce on Lac Ste. Anne. There is often flooding. This memory feels final, like a last time, like the end of something. It might have been late on a Sunday afternoon, just before we had to go back to the city. It could be the last weekend of a summer. But I think the point is that my experience of the lake gets darker as the years go by.