There is a small woman, she is Japanese, wearing a bright pink and orange tunic and a wide-brimmed white sunhat. She is giving orders to her husband and motioning toward the camera in his hands. He takes a shot. She turns to look at the lake in a stiff pose and says something. He takes another shot. She turns sideways and half-smiles. Snap. Forward pose. Snap. Snap. Same pose. Snap. She laughs. Snap.
There is a little girl with long, stringy brown hair wearing a faded red swimsuit. She is further down the shore, away from the boat dock and the Japanese couple. She is trying to float on top of an inflatable whale. She struggles, settling to simply balance on top and paddle flailingly with her gangly arms. She and the whale advance two or three feet away from shore. Slippery plastic squeak. Small splash. The whale flips white belly-up and bounces back to the rocky shoreline.
A young pasty white guy in hipster sunglasses and blue neon swim trunks appears and asks me about mountain biking on the trails. “Not allowed,” I respond, looking back at the Japanese couple. They are together now and have recruited an older man in too-short hiking shorts to take their camera. Snap. More hand motioning on both sides of the lens. Snap.
The lake is a lazy dog lapping up water as the small waves come into shore. Lap. Lap. The little girl grabs her whale again and wades thigh-deep into the lake, setting the whale down as though to teach it a lesson. Rising Wolf mountain rises lofty above her. She slithers onto the plastic. Squeak. And, another: Splash.
“That’s super lame,” remarks Hipster Sunglasses, presumably in response to the illegality of mountain biking and not the belly-up whale.
I close my eyes and lean my back onto the driftwood behind me. The sunshine and the lapping makes me sleepy. The stones are warm on my bare feet. My book remains unread beside me.
“We just came here from Oregon,” Sunglasses states to the clear air, “We’ve got our bikes on the truck…” he continues a monologue.
My eyes open again. Sunglasses says, “The water is so cold” twice while cautiously sticking his toe in the shallows.
There is a cloud above Lone Walker mountain that is a dragon body with a parrot nose.
The Japanese couple is gone. The little girl is still in the water with her whale, but someone is calling to her from shore.
I will the dragon-body-parrot-nose to swoop down.
Sunglasses must sense it is coming for him, because he quickly walks away mumbling, “Have a great day.” I can almost see the residue of ash in the air behind him.
The dragon-parrot changes into a very boring looking cloud in a very bright blue sky.
A new couple comes to have their picture taken. The little girl reluctantly gets out of the water, dragging her whale behind. Plastic scratch on rocks.
Lap. Lap. Lap.
I close my eyes.