Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Lake

Sunset, Great Pond
I have not spent much time on lakes except to be invited to go "upta camp" in the summers with friends who have camps on the various lakes in Maine.  I love the feel of swimming in fresh water .. it's silky flow through the hands, it's bathwater temperature and the fact that you don't have to shower after swimming in fresh water; there's no salt, stickiness to flush away down the drain.

When I was young I would go to the lake with the family sometimes and delight in leaping off a dock, inspecting the outrageously huge dock spiders and cringe thinking there were snapping turtles somewhere beneath me.  Times when a boat would pass by close to shore the other kids swimming would leap up shouting, "A WAVE! A WAVE!".  I would stand up perplexed ... where was the wave? This was a young girl who had learned to body surf before she learned to swim.  I'm sure in today's world this could be considered some kind of child abuse, but the fact was, my dad was an amazing body surfer and taught all 5 of us the joys of catching that wave and riding it all the way to beach .. until your nose scraped the sand!  So when the wake of a passing boat went by I found it a tad difficult to get excited about "the wave!".

Sunrise on Great Pond
This fall we have been living here at the camp on Great Pond, and I am gaining a whole new awareness of the changes of this landlocked body of water and all it's flora and fauna.  The sun climbs over a distant hill and ignites the sky in the early  morning with fuchsia colored clouds, while the tall pines on the distant knoll stand  back lit and silhouetted by this amazing morning light.  In the evenings we get the reflection of the setting sun behind us bouncing off those hills with the pines turning bronze and gold.  There have been more than one time when in mid-conversation with someone on the deck I have had to stop and just proclaim, "OH! WOW!"  and  all conversations would stop while we all  looked out over the water and watched the day recede in a brilliant display of changing colors.

Unlike the ocean the surface of a lake is not in constant motion; it's at the whim of the wind.  Yesterday I looked out and saw white caps on the water and realized the wind was blowing a gale.  In this little inlet the trees weren't really moving much, but the white caps told me there was a mighty wind out there.  A few hours later the caps were gone and the lake's surface was calming down.  By the time the sunset the water was like glass and reflected the rising moon as a perfect mirror image.  I have loved watching the moon through her cycles on this lake.  With no streetlights here or neighbors who must "light the night" with their porch lights burning all night long the moon's silver light flows across the water and seeps onto the floors of the cabin.  I wake frequently, just to see the moon dance.

I wrote about the Loons call in my blog, Wildness, on June 11.  Spending three seasons on this lake I have come to appreciate the many voices of the Loon.  Their communication system is as intricate as my family of Crows that I fed, observed and loved down in Falmouth.  Last spring Dave and I came up to the lake to open the camp for his mother's arrival.  We decided to spend the night, a little get away for us back then.  Late that night I was unable to sleep so I hauled pants over my sleeping shorts and walked out to the point.  I sat gazing at the reflected image of the stars in the lake; tiny fire crackers of light above and below me ... and I heard it ... a Loon?  But it sounded so different, the call was not the lilting, octave break of a Loon.  It was deep, guttural, masculine and aggressive.  The males come in to the lakes first in order to establish territory and wait for the ladies to arrive later.  This was the males territorial voice I was hearing!

During the summer there is that haunting sound as the mated pair talk to each other through-out the day and night.  And I now recognize how that song becomes a warning screech if a boat comes too close to the nest or the young one is separated from the parent.  Late summer we began to hear the call over head, not from the surface of the lake!  It appeared that the Loons were testing their wings and helping the fledglings get stronger for the winter migration to the sea.  They would fly past the camp for short distances at first, lengthening this flight over the course of a few weeks.  I could swear the call of the Loon over head as it passed was joyous as this water bird took to the air and spread it's wings .. literally .. again.

This morning the lake is steaming, warning of the colder air temperature as winds from the North begin to descend on us, bringing winters first frosty breath.  We will be moved out of this cabin by the time the lake has frozen.  Moving to a small and intimate town in the mountains.  I'm looking forward to this next step.  It's time.  It's time to take on this whole new life.  It's time to be in the mountains that will become my back yard now.

Sugarloaf Mountain
It's time.

Loving you all back,


  1. You've made me homesick for the lakes and mountains....but I'm so glad you'll be in Franklin County. It means home for me and I think you'll find home there, too.


  2. Stephanie, you have encouraged me and this move from day one, and I've appreciated it so much! I look forward to seeing you in your "home" some day soon!