Big Porcupine


DSCN0195Saturday, Sept 17

 It has rained throughout the entire day, from the time we pulled away from the shoreline of our Ragged Lake campsite (where Dennis and I decided NOT to don our raingear for the short paddle, across to the only portage trail of the day, during which the heavy skies of the morning DECIDED to let go their weight) until an hour or so ago, when we sat down together beneath the tarp for dinner.  We spent some time, after arriving in camp, holed up in our tents, just to get out of the deluge, which was wind driven for some time. Chilled and soaked through to my undergarments, I am grateful for the addition to my pack this year of the insulated synthetic jacket, which is holding my body heat in nicely right now.

My sopping clothes are now strewn across the line I strung near the exposed granite point, where my hope is that the sun, or at least a storm-chasing wind, will dry them.  Thus far, that has not proven to be an astute assumption on my part as the clouds burst open upon them again almost as soon as I’d hung them. However, there are hints of clearing now – small patches of blue through the thin veil of grey.

While paddling our way to this site, our heads bent into the driving rain, we passed by a few sites occupied by hunkered-down campers. I always try to imagine the view from a potential campsite when choosing a place to call home for the night, and so I lifted my eyes to drink in the perspective from those western horizon facing sites. Alluring long views of the alpine bog and islands shrouded in fog beckoned a lingering glance. Indeed, what I have been able to see of this large meandering lake has been quite satisfying.

We are situated on a jutting point where the water wraps around the land in a great S curve on its way from one side of the lake to the other, and so we are surrounded on 3 sides by water. To the north is the narrow lily and log choked paradise through which we maneuvered to get here. To the south the large open waters of the lake.  Even now, that water summons me to come and explore her secrets, but I will stay ashore, as already, since I have sat down to write, the clouds have returned to darken the horizon, the sky overhead no longer breaking to blue.

Camp is quiet.

Don has started a fire, at my request, in the great boulder-backed firepit, so I really should go appreciate his accommodating efforts, though the quiet is at the moment so peaceful and my pen is beginning to flow. I wonder why I didn’t open the journal this afternoon when we all retreated to our tents during the rain?  Too much stirred up on the surface of me to let myself down into these still waters, I suppose.

Ah, but the play of light on the land holds me fast. Already, the small island offshore, which a moment ago was bathed in light, is now dark. Where just minutes past there were hints of red on the leaves and pinks on the rocks, all is now muted, not quite to shades of grey, but nearly. I will wait here after all to see if anyone other than me comes out to enjoy this dusky reprieve… perhaps another, like me, drawn to the water. A beaver, perhaps.

 Sunday morning, Sept 18

Liquid silk on the water, a patch of reflecting light mirroring a small breach in the gray clouds of morning. Silence, save the occasional peep of a tree frog. Now the plop …of a fish? 

I cannot discern if it will rain or will clear, but I will be with what is.

Mornings seem to be the time of day when I am most able to be still. This morning I decided to try to beat the ‘system’ (for indeed, mornings seem to have developed into a well-oil machine) by coming to the water to sit for a while before brewing the coffee. ..

Now, the concentric circles of something rising pock the water’s surface.  My own body must also rise to attend to nature’s call….

In such a short time away from the edge, the water, the light, and even the land has completely changed. Now a ridgeline is visible beyond the far shore that was not before. Now the sky is bright blue. A red squirrel chatters. Two crows give voice to their call and response.

Is change then as fleeting (or as instant?) as this? It is disappointingly obvious to me here on this trip that I seem to fall back into old patterns so easily, so quickly. In relationship, almost automatically, patterns of thought, feeling, response, and behavior reemerge.  Oh, perhaps I have not changed whatsoever. I have the same personality traits and dysfunctions as always.  So afraid am I of being accepted.  Sigh.

A duck quacks (is there another word to describe such a sound?)  My ears also vibrate with the wings of a gull as they slice through the air overhead .  Now it is silent again.


Can I live from THIS place?  This silence. Inside. Carry this with me into the day.

Color now- sunlight pinking the opposite shore. Already in the time that I jot the words down, it is darkened by an obscuring cloudbank. But I know it is there, that color. I have seen it, even if just for a moment. Being hidden or visible changes not the truth of that light being present, a light that can reveal and tease out this color, even in me. 

Being covered over changes only its apparency,  not its reality. 


We paddled the morning away, following our curiosities, exploring the south bays of this lake. Don and I disembarked on the small northernmost island. With its view of a string of rocky islets, lining the shallow bay, I imagine it might be quite a charming spot to make home for a while. This lake is easily reachable in one long day’s paddling and portaging. I am imagining a trip with Kelly and the boys someday. Always my beloveds come to my heart in these places where my heart opens wide.

We arrived back in camp in time for lunch and then spent the afternoon in quiet personal pursuits of intimate leisure. With my camera following an intriguing and inviting trail of fungi and mushrooms, I was led deep into the damp and sheltering darkness of the forest.  At times on hands and knees I crawled down embankments , over and under great fallen giants ,through hemlock and moss strewn terrain, tracking that delightful array, landing at last on an old graying trunk overlooking an intimate cove.

I returned to camp as full as my arms, which were wrapped around an offering of dry limbs to feed the fire, (I’d been able to dry out my rain gear last evening over that gracious fireplace, after all) to rejoin my friends who had also, it seemed, filled themselves up, each in his or her way, in the solitude of an afternoon whiled in this enchanted place.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: revisiting | Emmaatlast's Weblog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: