I am writing to you this morning from the north shore of Lake Tahoe, just inside the California line. It's chilly and the sounds of this little lake village coming to life fill the air all around me. I have been reading some facts about Lake Tahoe, sitting here on this beach, my toes in this this cold sand, and I am feeling better about giving my son, Sam, to this piece of land.
I have let go of a lot of things in this life, but letting go of my first-born son is perhaps the hardest letting-go yet.
My brother and his wife and two kids are here with us. They come up from San Francisco and rent a house here for two weeks in the summer, beginning just when California kids have to return to school. This was either a lovely coincidence or part of nature's elegant design -- that Sam's college orientation just a few miles down the road would begin right when they come here to vacation.
My brother, Steve, and Sam remind me so much of each other that when they're sitting and talking or standing and talking I almost lose track of who's who. It's comforting.
I understand a bit more about Lake Tahoe now. This lake is very, very deep and cold and clear. And old. These rocks, mountains, this water hold stories and I know now that Sam will absorb them into his Vermont skin and bones.
When I was birthing Sam twenty-one years ago on September 21st, he was very slow to arrive. It took a few days and some awful drugs and a cheering section to coax him into the world. When he graduated from high school two years ago, Sam wasn't ready to go to college, so he bucked the trend and waited until he felt ready, until he understood more about himself and had a better sense of what he wanted to do with his life.
All of his life Sam has been launching himself off trampolines and ski jumps and rooftops. He skis on snow and water. His appreciation for mountains and lakes, cold water and snow, is embedded deep in his soul. Sam has chosen a place that probably feels like home. It would be hard for me to conjure, in my imagination, a more perfect environment in which to let him go, again.
I believe, sitting here beside this beautiful blue, cold and deep ancient lake, that Sam has chosen well and that the timing of all of this is just right. This lake has been absorbing all of my tears since I arrived here on Sunday and we began the process of settling Sam at school. I know now that Sam will float quite beautifully here and I trust her, now, with my boy. Amen.