Pulled from summer’s grasp into the chilly hands of fall
Our gear, gathered from the jumble of adventures past, rejoices to venture forth just one more time
The lake, discovered by friends who camped there first and generously shared the story of its wild, empty shores
The surge on windy crests of white to find our home, where some good soul has left us firewood beneath a tiny roof of birchbark
Dreams of swimming lie buried under wooly hats and added layers and we scramble over jumbled rocks to a woodland trail instead
A garter snake, like us, seems unwilling to surrender the feisty warmth of summer and defends his trail with fierce tenacity until we slip away
Hotdogs drip, above the glowing coals, beneath the toasting buns, and we eat with gusto
Later, the wind has calmed and water gently laps the shore. Does it dream of summer’s radiance or long for peaceful snowbound sleep?
In quiet unity, we write, we draw, we scoot ever closer to the living glow that wrestles with the icy night, as stars emerge
Dawn pulls us from the best of sleep, as crazy, restless calls surround our narrow point. Then, paddling out, the echoes become a bouncing dot of black and white, a loon to say farewell until summer comes again.
(by Laurie Chandler, Tunk Lake, Maine, September 2016)
Spring just makes me want to grab hold of life with both hands. To sit in the sun and absorb the warmth with all my being and, yet, to say a lingering goodbye to the waves of icy air that are still flowing from the patches of ice marooned in the woods. I am restless, not least of all because I am in the process of leaving my lay ministry job and embarking before long on my paddling trip.
Poetry is new for me, but today’s just seemed to write itself:
It Doesn’t Take Much
It doesn’t take much, this time of year, to lift a tired heart.
Just a quiet hour to roam the woods, to wander with springtime dreams.
Rubber-clad feet sink deep in the mud, but at least it isn’t ice.
No slippery, sliding, breath-taking suspense to see if you’ll stay upright.
Just a cushion, a carpet of softest duff, welcoming, moist and brown.
It doesn’t take much this time of year, to feel the throb of life.
A barred owl calls in the height of day…”Who cooks for you?” he asks.
Then comes a sound to drown out them all, a chorus of horrid croaks.
“What species is this?” you want to know, so stealthily you sneak near.
Quietly perch near a murky black pool that gradually comes to life,
With tens or hundreds of busy gray frogs in a noisy springtime dance.
It doesn’t take much, this time of year, to find beauty at every turn.
No need for a violet, a lupine, or rose… a humble skunk cabbage will do.
Squat down to look closely as the new plant unfurls,
And you’ll be amazed what you’ll see.
Bright shiny purples and pale mottled greens have a beauty all their own.
No, it doesn’t take much this time of year, for hope to spring anew.
Oh, how I long for spring. Every inch of brown and muddy earth seems a victory, wrestled back from the tenacious hold of winter. The mud may suck and clutch at the soles of my wellies, but at least it isn’t frozen, at least not on the sunny afternoons. I will ignore today’s weather forecast, which shows snow of varying amounts on five upcoming days!
I’m back on the lake for a time, caring for my dog and cat friends. Here I will watch the ice as its character changes, until finally it will be gone. The kayak rides promisingly on top of my RAV4. Paddles, PFD, seat, are all handy in the back. It won’t be long.
While we’re waiting, here’s a poem I wrote on another early spring morning…
God in Nature’s Song
Tendrils of rosy mist swirl in tantalizing morning dance,