Snapshot: Cranberry Lake, NJ

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Cranberry Lake wakes up quietly during the summer. The sunrise casts a pink reflection on the water, framing the oak trees along the shore. Fog rises from the mirror surface of the water. A blue heron stands among the lily pads waiting for his breakfast to swim past, while a nearby fisherman also waits for a catch.

The lake changes during the summertime. Many of the lakefront houses, vacant during the other three seasons, fill up with families. Children ride bicycles around the streets all day long, and the community clubhouse hosts dances in the evenings.

Morning provides the only silence.

This stillness invites canoeists and paddle boarders to skim across the surface, while the cool morning temperature encourages runners to loop around the lake – half state-park trail and half lake house community. On another shore the swim team, the Cranberry Lake Otters, practices laps of freestyle.

As the sun continues to rise, an engine turns on and a boat cruises toward the center of the lake, pulling a water-skier.

Lakefront homeowners complain regularly about the boat noise in the early morning, but this does not discourage the skier. He wants to get out before the afternoon crowds.

With the sun almost overhead, sunbathers take their positions. They lay out on docks and rafts consuming water, sunblock, books, and magazines. The Cranberry Lake beaches are filling with lifeguards, swim instructors, mothers, and children. Morning concludes, and the lake has awakened for summer activities.

Originally written for NYU’s Feature Writing course (School of Professional Studies)