Do you have a cup of coffee? Just come out front when you’ve got a warm cuppa in hand. I’ll be sitting in the adirondack chairs, waiting for you. Let’s welcome in the day together.
Each day, and often every hour, the lake changes her face.
I use the descriptive “sweet” over and over in referencing Square Pond. It’s clumsy terminology, but the most apt. The waters are gentle, warm and friendly. My mother says she like “the viscosity” and there’s something to that. This body of water has an extra palpable quality to it, with arms that surround and keep you buoyant. The lake is an entity, as much as any of the other creatures that inhabit her shores. And she is a sweet one.
Did you bring the morning treats for our friends? Let me just step back inside for a moment to grab some almonds…and the camera.
My Gram used to feed the “chippers” year round, and in the summers we would too, or rather, I would. With a bag of fresh peanuts still in their shells, I spent hours each summer waiting with a peanut in my outstretched hand. It would rarely take longer than a week before that year’s chipmunk was sitting on my knee, stuffing nuts into it’s dufflebag cheeks. Sometimes it would be the same chipper, year after year, recognizable by a scar or marking on its side.
Since no one’s been around for a few years, they were pretty suspicious of us at first and I also had no intention of taming them. As it turns out, bribes are not necessary for their affection. They sincerely seem to like the company. After only a few days, they began appearing each morning at coffee time, hamming it up for the camera. By our last few days, they had thrown all caution to the wind and were running about under our chairs and over our feet.
After the first week I did start scattering about a few seeds or nuts. I also tried to construct a small dining set, using found branches and a few nails, but didn’t really have the right tools. Next summer I’m bringing doll house chairs and tables so I can anthropomorphize to my heart’s content.
I mean, come on. How can I not?
There’s no doubt who they’re chewing out.
Despite their disdain for us, it turns out they’re attention hogs too. They went from sending out high alarms at our footsteps, to competing with the chipmunks for most photogenic.
So how’s that cup of coffee? All done? Let’s stretch our legs. How about a canoe ride?
I wonder how the Turtle Cove is this morning?
Our land extends over the road and through the culvert, cupping a quarter of the headwaters of the lake.
If you have never heard a loon call, you can listen to recordings of them here. The first call I heard this year, I felt it penetrate past the sinew and bones, down to the marrow. There, the notes got to work weaving back together rifts in my soul. While all the loon songs are beautiful, my favorite is actually the short “hoot” that they use when saying hello to each other.
Well, before we get on with the day, how about a stroll down The Path? No, don’t bother with your shoes. The forest floor offers up it’s love through springy moss and pine needles.
Enter the forest.
Let’s sit on this stump here for a moment. Watch the forest floor, as it comes alive.
Do you see him? Look closely. Unless they are moving, Harvestmen, or Daddy Longlegs, are arachnids (but not spiders, as they are in the order Opiliones) that are invisible when motionless. If you sit quietly for a few minutes, you will see that there are hundreds of them, but they have no interest in people. When approaching a foot, they slow down, gingerly reach out one long leg to test the object, and then steer clear.
Their companions are the caterpillars, who will make a bigger appearance in the mushroom post.
I would have to be as quiet as a harvestman, or as camoflauged as a caterpillar to evade the sharp senses of the resident eagles, who roost in a tall pine 3/4 of the way down the path. I stalked these great beings for two weeks, succeeding only in alerting them to my presence as a total pest. On our last day, I finally got some sorta focused shots from the canoe.
Well friend, the rest of the day is beckoning, so I suppose this is where we must part. But how are you, how is your heart? Serene? Relaxed?
Good, then my work here is done.
Next up…foraging on the East Coast!