Lake Day


Today is Lake Day.

At Wellesley {have a daughter? Check it out. Seriously.} there was a long standing tradition. Bright and early on the first truly glorious day of spring, the college president would order the chapel bells to ring- pealing the announcement that classes were cancelled. Spontaneously. Everyone was free. Professors, students and staff were all invited to revel in the day. A campus-wide picnic was organized. Music played. Blankets were strewn across Severance Green. Laughter and joy bubbled up everywhere.

It was glorious.


Except that spring is fickle in New England. And that means food service had to keep buns and burgers at the ready for weeks on end. And professors had to have back-up plans in case it was their lecture or lab or exam or field trip that had to be rescheduled. And the president had to hawkishly follow the weather reports and balance that with whatever was happening on campus.

And the students? Oh, we watched and listened for any whispered clues or slights of hand from secretive employees, ruffled professors or friends doing work study jobs in high places. Today? Tomorrow? Tomorrow’s tomorrow?

And as spring budded, tensions grew. It required too much planning, created too much strife, fell too close to finals. The whole purpose of the day was stripped away.

And so it was cancelled.

And yet, today is Lake Day.

I am not there, but my weather app tells me it will be a glorious autumn day. Clear skies. Warm temperatures. And New England leaves beginning to turn the classic colors of fall. A day to swim. A day to float. A day to take out the dinghies and crew shells and sail boats. A day to stretch out on the grass and watch clouds float by.

Today is Lake Day.

Which means, some time in the past 20 years, some wise woman reimagined tradition. She saw the importance of the intent, and found a way to make it work. She took something old, and renewed it. She figured out how to honor the past. And add joy to the future.

So here’s to play. And traditions. Re-envisioned. We are not all at Wellesley, but we can each ring our family bell. We can take an old idea and repurpose it. We can plan for spontaneity. So what will you change? What tradition will you reinvent? Each of us will pick something different. It’s whatever floats your boat.

Happy Lake Day.

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