summer of becoming – Hay Lake

Day 7, Hay Lake Morning

A morning of silvers and grays, the sky heavy with a thick blanket to hold in whatever warmth remained after last evenings stiff breezes blew through. Celie and I are seated together on the deck, here in the quiet of dawn.  Alice and Elsie are still asleep in the cabin, the processing of reentry affecting each of us in different ways. Last evening, in the chilly evening air, two of us were grateful for the warm comfort of the cabin, while two of us felt confined by the walls of that interior space after living outdoors for a week, missing the closeness of earth.  And so we split up, some of us inside, some out, which felt oddly divisive somehow.

The gulls announce the coming of dawn (the loons, even here, are distant) Celie, beside me now on the deck, weeps softly, having found something of herself here in this place and time, which she has been forsaking back home, and wondering how she will hold onto it there in the demands of her ordinary life. Her tears are full of aloneness and longing. Elsie joins us now at the water’s edge, to sit in the stillness, as the sky opens a channel to let in the light. Indeed, Algonquin has awakened us all.

My friends will soon depart for home and I shall have the day to ‘unpack’ in so many ways.  I hope to be still enough to listen, to not become busy with ‘doing’ right away…at least for the rest of the morning.

The sky is blushing now, casting her pink reflection onto the water, the sun’s rising now beginning to draw forth the currents of air and of water. I watch the light move… across this silver water…


My friends have departed, and I sit here, alone at last.  I have no cell phone signal to make a call home, and I suppose, for now, that is for the better, as I might rush into that distraction before taking the necessary time to let the experience settle, before letting my solitude settle, before letting the silence settle.

I suppose I shall make the drive out at some point today to pick up my solo canoe from where I left it at Roxy’s. Then, I can call out to loved ones to let them know that all is well, and also to let them know that I have no signal here so they are not confused as to why I am not connecting with them.

But for now, I will sit. Try to let go of the planning and preparing, the hosting and being responsible.

And all is well.

I remain uncertain as to where this will lead, this season of pilgrimage. Certainly, something has been shed in me, like a snake shedding her outgrown skin. Yes, that is an apt metaphor, this sense of detaching from what I have been, and this becoming of something new. I feel I am nearing the end of this 7 year season of transition  – it has been 6 years now since my youngest son graduated high school, 6  years since my first granddaughter (of 7 that passed through that floodgate) was born.  Five, since my husband retired and we began searching for ‘what-next’. Four since we moved from our home.

I have needed this space to breathe… perhaps like a woman in the transitional stage of labor must also turn inward to breathe.  The fast growing changes throughout that time, the sudden thrust into that pregnancy and birthing process, have felt profound and at times overwhelming . So much change, so much growth, at times quite painful, much pressure at others. There has been impatience and waiting, screaming and crying. I have had to learn to listen to my intuition and yearnings, to attend to my body’s pulls and urgent demands to push – sometimes that has meant pushing back or away. Like a woman in labor, at times I have both snapped at, and held fast, to those whom I love .

But something is being born in me.  Something separate and uniquely my own.

* The Journey

by Mary Oliver

One day you finally knew what you had to do, and began, though the voices around you kept shouting their bad advice— though the whole house began to tremble and you felt the old tug at your ankles. “Mend my life!” each voice cried. But you didn’t stop. You knew what you had to do, though the wind pried with its stiff fingers at the very foundations, though their melancholy was terrible. It was already late enough, and a wild night, and the road full of fallen branches and stones. But little by little, as you left their voices behind, the stars began to burn through the sheets of clouds, and there was a new voice which you slowly recognized as your own, that kept you company as you strode deeper and deeper into the world, determined to do the only thing you could do— determined to save the only life you could save.

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