Ragged Lake


DSCN8992Sept 16 Ragged Lake Morning.                                                                                          ­­­

Perched high above the water on this steep site with a wide view of the lake, I watch the unfolding dawn. Last evening these waters, stretched out before me, lay still and reflective as glass; this morning they faintly ripple. Of course, the ripple itself is also a reflection, though of something quite different.  Here, the subtlest of shifts is revealed, the lake stirred awake, as am I, by the caress of the sky.

Both of the skies, evening and morning, have been clear with just a smattering of clouds low on the horizon, enough to catch the late and then early glow, as the earth turned her back and then re-turned to face the sun, rolling over as I also do to my husband in bed.

When first I arose, the morning mists also were rising, heavy, from the surface of the water, completely obscuring even the large island for a time. Soon, painted peach and then gold by the rising sun, the fog began to lift.  I’m never entirely certain if I should refer to this morning blanket as mist or as fog, so seamless is the sky/lake on mornings such as this.

When I return home, this sky is the one piece of this place that returns with me.  I need merely turn my gaze to her encompassing presence, and I can recall, within the span of a breath, that I am at home. Sometimes, if I make my eyes soft, I can soften the harsh lines of humanity… industry and infrastructure..and see the earth hiding in plain sight just beneath the cover, imagine trees reaching for this sky and water stretching out beneath it like a woman beneath her lover.

Might my own turning away and then back … Algonquin to Pennsylvania (I am no longer certain which one to call home )…feel as congruous as the turning of the earth toward and away from the sun, as certain and assuring as the turn of the seasons?  Might I allow my own transition to be as seamless as water to sky to water again, for I too am made of the same substance in either place… whether I am fog in a low lying cloud there or mist from a rising lake here?

My friends are stirring. It is time to begin preparing breakfast. This makes me wonder, am I simply stepping back into the roles I have performed? Not so much the chores that I do, but the persona I put on, the form that I so automatically retake?  Something to ponder and to watch as I remerge with these persons whom I love.  Can I hold onto the shape that has begun to emerge from the fog during this time apart?  Can that often elusive, ethereal and shy presence who shows up in retreat, take form, become tangible… as perchance cloud or rain, river, lake, ocean, even solitary drop from time to time…not merely dissipate into thin air. Can I make of my essence something embodied, something that doesn’t slip so easily away?


We spent the day paddling, through South Ragged Lake, then west through Crown Bay to Parkside and back, stopping along the way to visit a few campsites, once for a potty break, once for lunch in the narrows. We will be back on this lake for the last night of our trip, 10 days from now, on a Saturday evening, when sites on a lake this close to the access point will likely be filled on a weekend in September, so we thought to take a look around the neighborhood. I got quite disoriented again, navigating around the curve of land in the west bay, then felt foolish and incompetent. I’m still getting used to being with people again and the self-consciousness that evokes within me, this great internal power struggle to be embodied … free to be/express/trust Who I am (inhabit an authentic shape?) without constant censor or defense, proof or apology.

Now, it is late afternoon and we are all fairly spent, having paddled from 10 until 3, and are glad to be back in our camp, which is, of course, already thankfully set up as we did not break camp to move today.  Dinner will be chili and corn bread, a heat and eat affair. I have time to relax before that chore must be done. Good thing, for I have poured a bit too much rum in my cup, and the view of this cove behind camp is so very delightful. Don says it leads to a hidden lake that he discovered when he wandered this way to fish earlier, and has offered to show me his secret find. And so, I am off…..

…The waters are once again calm, reflecting the stillness of evening. Indeed, it is true that the surface of these waters reflects the subtlest of shifts in the atmosphere… the caress of the morning sky lifts, the buffeting of late afternoon winds disturbs, the coolness of evening settles. She is not separate, after all, though the delineation appears to be so, her boundary is fluid and seamless … sky flows into water. Yet, somewhere in her depths she remains.









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  1. Trackback: revisiting | Emmaatlast's Weblog

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