Lady of the Lake

Art by Jean Beauduin

If you Google “Lady of the Lake” artwork, your search will yield some interesting pieces.

My Lady of the Lake was one of those people whose name I will never know. A middle-aged woman with shoulder-length hair who would park by our neighborhood lake. She would arrive in the morning–seven days a week, rain or shine– and stay all day. Six hours. Eight hours.

She never got out of her car to walk around the lake, which most people do when they go there. I never saw her interact with anyone. She never talked on the phone, ate, or read.  Sometimes she would close her eyes, tilt her head, and take a snooze. Mostly she just sat in solitude.

Her car, a newer-model sedan, was very cluttered with miscellaneous items. In fact, it was so full that the only space in it was where she sat each day.

Over the months and years I began to wonder about this lady. Did she have anyone? Did she have anywhere to go? Did she have anything else to do?

Last year I was driving early to the grocery store when I saw that familiar car parked in a driveway on a street I frequent often. The driveway belonged to a house that was in great disrepair. Suddenly things became clear why the beauty of the neighborhood lake attracted my lady so much.

And then she disappeared.

A few days later there was a huge Dumpster in front of her house.

The car was cleaned out. Then the car disappeared.

The house got a new roof. Then the house was cleaned out.

This afternoon I went to buy groceries and saw the house for the first time in two weeks.

The siding has been removed, the windows have been removed. It is gutted into a shell on its foundation.

I think it is safe to say that my nameless Lady of the Lake has died.

Of course, she wasn’t nameless.

I’m sorry I never knew her name.

I think it is also safe to say that this lonely lady was connected to someone, and that this someone has taken the initiative to revive her house. After all, under the layers of disrepair, it has value.

Was Lady of the Lake unaware of her value? Did she fall into disrepair?

It is odd to drive by the lake these days and not see her. I wonder how many other people noticed her. I wonder if she is at peace.  I wonder if she feels loved.

I hope so.

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