I feel a connection to nature while walking on a wooded path along a lake. It feels like a visit with an old friend, walking the woods and lake I’ve gone by so often. This walk on a sunny fall day puts me in a contemplative mood.
I pass a stand of birch trees with bark peeling off in layers. They look like their shedding the autumn skin and will be bare in the winter. The birch tree must be an odd sight to someone looking it over for the first time. I enjoy peeling the bark, and using it in different ways.
Sunny days after a stormy early fall snow, and walking by a lake seeing the peeling birch trees by the water brings to mind a poem. I’d like to share it with you.
by Michael Ondaatje
An hour after the storm on Birch Lake
the island bristles. Rock. Leaves still falling.
At this time, in the hour after lightning
we release the canoes.
Silence of water
purer than the silence of rock.
A paddle touches itself. We move
over blind mercury, feel the muscle
within the river, the blade
weave in dark water.
Now each casual word is precisely chosen
passed from bow to stern, as if
leaning back to pass a canteen.
There are echoes, repercussions of water.
We are in absolute landscape,
among names that fold in onto themselves.
To circle the island means witnessing
the blue grey dust of a heron
released out of the trees.
So the dialogue slides
nothing more than friendship
an old song we break into
not needing all the words.
We are past naming the country.
The reflections are never there
without us, without the exhaustion
of water and trees after storm.