Raw

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I have just come from the lake.

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It was raw – the weather, and more – yet beautiful. The shores were thick with ducks and geese, that erupted in whirls of dismay at my approach. My body remembered the rhythm of the paddle. It was the first merging of boat and woman this year.

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I went into the light wind, for an easier time on the way home. Near the lake’s far end, moss on the bank shone a brilliant green, the most contrast there’d been in the still-wintry landscape. It was enough, in this raw, wild day borrowed from summer. One hour on the water would be my bright moss in the winter landscape of recent days.

Yesterday was not good. To be honest, embracing hope was not working. I couldn’t settle into my writing, and there was not much joy in the busy tasks I thought up to take its place. I soldiered on, though, driving the canoe from its winter resting place down to the lake, stacking firewood, writing to a few old friends. And today is better. Hope is back.

Not long after the moss came the haunting call of a loon. My heart thrilled, as I did not know they had returned to inland waters. A patch of white against the distant shore, though, turned out to a bufflehead, one at first and then two pairs.

When the loon popped up, he was darker than he would be in summer plumage and seemed to be engaged in some sort of acrobatic struggle. My binoculars brought him closer, where I could see he was straining to swallow a large fish, perhaps a bass, far larger than any I’d ever seen a loon tackle. He apparently had a good grip and got it lined up. His neck stretched high and his whole body wiggled. The fish was slowly sliding down, down, down, until even the tail was gone. I watched to see if he could still breathe or float, but with the task over, he looked unfazed. That was very cool.

A chill rain set in as I turned homeward, ready to write by the woodstove once more.

12 thoughts on “Raw”

  1. Not a surprise that you (finally) ventured out! Way cool sight and story of the loon versus fish. We did our outdoor excursion by auto to the Craigs to take a tool, stopped by Kathy and Ken’s for a porch to driveway chat/shout out, then around the lake to Waldoboro Hannafords where there was a crazy traffic pattern that bewildered us (to get to the checkout). But once we got corrected by the vigilant staff, we “got it” and obeyed. Store was well stocked. Home by the fire now.
    Mary & Bill

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  2. Wishing I could jump into a canoe and paddle out; away from threats. But, alas here in a house, but watching Mother Nature do her thing. Waiting to join her…

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  3. Enjoyed reading your posts again. Here we are only allowed to take a short walk round the block. Looking forward to paddling when it is possible.
    Greetings from the Netherlands.

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    1. All best wishes to you and Geoff! Wish we could whisk you to Maine for an afternoon out on the lake. Instead, we must send our good thoughts across so many miles, with hopes that all will be well until you can return to doing what you love. Take care, Laurie

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  4. Laurie, when I read Upwards in March 2019, I immediately started planning my own solo journey; joining the NFCT and studying the maps. Your book is impressive. It could certainly be used as a guide to the journey. I would hope that Sam Brakeley will read it and be inspired. So, I was happy to read your two posts on March 23 and 29 but was puzzled by a reference to Chapter 9. Have I missed all of the posts? Will you be coming out with another book? If so, I look forward to reading it.

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    1. Hi Elaine! You’re right, another book is in the works. Those who enjoyed Upwards, will find some parallels in the new one, which follows my summer 2018 adventures. My destination was Maine’s new Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument, but I went the long way ’round to get there. The manuscript will be submitted for final editing later this month, with an anticipated September release date!

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