Saturday, August 27, 2005
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
You have the equipment for JOY -- eyes, ears, and an experienced
appreciation meter -- to get highs, off and on all day long :
the light fingering the row of books, the drops of rain on the
clothesline, the long shadow the pebble casts at dawn, the
pendulum swing of a wasp settling in for a drink at the bird
bath, the crunch, and spurt of juice and scent, as you bite the
apple, the addictive sweetness of the ripe plum and the breathtaking
way it pulls off the secret in the center, the hazy
bloom on the grape, the coiling circles behind your dug paddle
when canoeing, the -- oh, on and on.
Note by Pam Perkins-Frederick, photo by Mary Stebbins.
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
Sunday, August 14, 2005
Day 1: After we set up camp, right on the lake, we walked on the Hemlock Ridge trail. There we saw a "drowned forest" (an area of woods flooded by Beaver that had become a large swamp) that contained what appeared to be an osprey nest (but no osprey to be seen) and what appeared to be a small heron rookery (but no heron to be seen). As the name suggested, the trail followed a hemlock-covered ridge and then wound through rocky ledges and crevices. It was very pretty (gorgeous, really), but nearly unbearably hot and very buggy. Extremely buggy. We practically ran the last leg of the trail. Dove into the tent with an entourage of bugs trailing.
Day 2: Overnight, we heard loons. We never tire of that eerie laughing sound, the haunting melody floating over the lake to our tent. It was horribly hot all night even without the fly on the tent. Restless and moist. In the morning, we rented a canoe and paddled from island to island, stopping to explore the islands, take pictures and swim. The islands were rocky and Adirondacky, part of a long finger of Canadian shield extending southward. We saw a large bird that was probably an osprey and two loons. We visited a number of islands and saw three deer on the largest one. A group of kids were diving and jumping from a cliff—I got excited and wanted to try it.
wasn't something i was looking for
nor even expected
but when it came
everything turned beautiful
to experience someone from a distance
and still feel the same passion from within
it made me feel like a different woman
but i felt more like me
and it's this love that made me discover
what lies underneath me
it all but happened just once in this lifetime
the certainty of it all
but it is the same love
that hurt me in the end
but i will treasure all the memories
that came along with this love
it will all be here in me
Thursday, August 11, 2005
Sharp smell from old leaves
brewed with mud and sun-
April fills the woods.
Take me! Let me be a part of you,
let me drift with the breeze
touching each naked branch,
each brown leaf on the hillside.
Take me downstream with the fastest current,
making strands of gray hair on the rocks,
cascading down a mossy stone
following gravity, rushing here,
slowing there into a luscious pool
decked with bubbles.
Take me! I want to obey only the laws of nature.
I want to rise with spring and lie down with autumn.
I want my heart to leap up with the spray of the brook,
with the clatter of ducks taking flight.
I want the hairs on my cheek to feel
the caress of Earth's breath.
I want gratitude to fill my heart
until it aches in my chest
and the feeling runs out from my eyes.
Please take me. Let me know
that I am always your child,
that I can come back
to your arms over and over
until the last great return,
when my atoms enter back
into your lungs and your blood
and I am all yours.
by Ann McNeal
Previously published in Patchwork Journal
Ann McNeal says that she finds consolation and inspiration in nature at all the critical junctures of her life. She recently retired from teaching science at Hampshire College to devote herself to writing and to living larger.
Monday, August 08, 2005
Friday, August 05, 2005
Thursday, August 04, 2005
Yesterday, a dragonfly and grabbed, one after another, both a deerfly and a mosquito buzzing at my ear. I dove into the tent at one point, pursued by a swarm of deerflies, and a dragonfly cleaned up the swarm hovering around the door.This reminded me of an incident at Three Rivers when I sat writing on Lycopodium Knoll. The deer flies began whirling around me until I thought I'd have to leave. A huge dragonfly arrived, circled around grabbing the deerflies, and then landed on my knee. It sat there off and on for an hour. Every time a deer fly or mosquito showed up, the dragon fly zipped out, seized it, returned to my knee an gobbled it down.
It was a wonderful symbiosis. If only we could have them as pets or comrades. They would make our lives more comfortable and we would provide them with food. I delight in the image of dragonflies following like a goat on a hike, clearing the bugs from our path through the forest.
Mary Stebbins, Bastille Day, 2005
SILK CREEK REVIEW IS LIVE! If you haven’t visited yet, please do!
Monday, August 01, 2005
a pleasant summer evening and I was struck by the
passing frontal clouds in the northeastern sky. Then
a breath of summer fresh air came and I put my sandals
on and went down with only camera in hand. I wanted to camp but it was too late to
get even the essentials together and up there and set
up so I just went for a creek walk. I walked down to
the jaccuzzi falls and sat for nearly an hour.
Again, I had nothing more than my camera so I didn't write
anything. I was trying rather to cleanse my mind of
clutter and noise and fear and anxiety and boredom.
In the end, I was not entirely successful. I think to
be successful I will have to make it a 2-3 night
experience with just a pad and a few books. To allow
my sense of time to slow but to keep boredom from
filling the space.
Coming back after sitting there so long was kind of
spooky. It was dark and I debated whether or not to
return overland or stay in the water. I chose the
latter because I was afraid I might stray off the
trail or contact poison ivy under the dark of the
forest canopy. The creek was a guaranteed path to
where I started. Going upstream, I could not see the
bottom and was unsure where the deep parts were so I
kept to the banks where I could.
Occasionally I would
snare a thick taught spider's web on my neck or face.
There were lots of bats swirling around me.
Occasionally a strand of seaweed would wrap around my
ankle which just felt strange in the dark "invisible"
water. I was alot wetter coming back than going out.
It was a much slower return trip because I didn't want
to trip or fall.
I did trip and nearly fell in the
deep just when I passed your writing rock. I got very
wet saving myself and my camera from total immersion
there. That was a close (and very splashy) call!.
The moon would have been helpful I think but she was
nowhere to be seen on this now overcast sunday night.
Anyway, I survived the late evening creekwalk in the
dark and may be up at the designated campsite this