Temperatures have been hovering in the triple digits all across Oklahoma this week. Yes, it is a different kind of heat from the humid, steamy boil of a Florida summer that I’m so used to, but this dry heat is sometimes unbearable even for me. Back home, this is the sort of weather that sends the kiddo and me to the beach to splash around in the salt water and get knocked over by waves. But as Dorothy said, “I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.” (And this, folks, is a good thing because the Kansas town of Hill City topped off at 115 degrees this week.)
Elle and I were in need of an adventure outside the confines of any store on May Avenue, so I searched for directions to Arcadia Lake. A few months ago, I learned Arcadia Lake is the only lake in the OKC metro area that has a designated beach and I was really looking forward to the right time and opportunity to head out there. With forecasts warning of possible record-breaking temperatures on Wednesday, the two of us packed our beach bags, suited up, and headed north to the city of Edmond.
There were no records broken that day, by the way. It only reached 101 degrees.
Before this day, I hadn’t been swimming in a lake in over two decades but I at least knew what to expect. Elle, on the other hand, is a born and bred Florida girl, raised near the ocean and taught to stay clear of lakes and their shores for fear of alligators and venomous water snakes. Even in the ocean, one must always be aware of her surroundings. It’s not uncommon to be bumped by a shark or suddenly enveloped by a floating armada of jellyfish.
It was quite understandable that Elle was a tad nervous about taking her first steps into the lake and she asked me to hold her hand.
I linked her fingers with mine but instead of calmly wading in, I convinced her to run down the beach with me and into the lake until we both collapsed into the water. We ended up playing in Arcadia Lake for over an hour. The water was cool and refreshing for a day that had gotten so hot, so early. Elle and I were reluctant to leave but even the lake temperature was becoming uncomfortably warm as the morning wore on. It was time to pack up and go home.
Homesickness has been a slight problem for me this week and knowing the ocean isn’t nearby to soothe my soul when I become overwhelmed, which is how I have been feeling quite often this entire week, has made me find other ways to comfort myself.
Arcadia Lake did a damn fine job of that.