E.B. White's "Once More To The Lake"

The Essay
They don't get any better than this. In this essay White writes about returning with his young son to the rural Maine lake where his father used to take the family for a month-long vacation every year. Surprisingly little has changed. Just as he remembered, there are the same small waves chucking the rowboats under the chins, the same eternal dragonfly landing on the tips of the fishing poles, the net on the tennis court sagging in the noonday heat, and the school of minnows whose shadows "double the attendance" in the shallows. What he doesn't expect though is the vertiginous feelings that sweep over him when he takes his son out on the lake fishing and suddenly can't remember which end of the boat he's on--whether he's his father's son or his son's father. By the end the reader realizes that is by no means a nostalgic travel piece down memory lane; it is rather a deeply moving evocation of loss, longing, aging and death.


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