With only 3 1/2 hours of daylight left, I escaped for a short adventure yesterday and drove to close by Frenchman’s lake near my house. Parts are still snowed in from recent storms and snow drifts, several feet deep are covering the road in spots. Getting stuck was not part of the adventure so we parked and set out on foot. I felt relaxed and the wonderful feeling I so often experience when surrounded by nature flooded over me while restoring peace and emotional stillness. There was no pain and life was good. The sun was already getting low and I knew there wouldn’t be much time. But I also knew that my favorite time of day was just ahead of me when alpenglow and sunset colors warm the earth in a golden glow. It truly is serenity at it’s best for me and I always have a hard time leaving. Forests become magical places of fairytales that need to be explored in wonder as if I was Alice in wonderland. Or I dream of riding a horse through the plains of a lush meadow filled with an array of wildflowers. I remember back to my childhood and the time I tried to convince my Mom that we could keep a horse in the garage. Having a pony was all I wanted as a child and I’m still taken by these majestic beautiful creatures. Or perhaps it is that I am collecting seashells at the beach to the sound of the ocean and the waves making their way ashore or maybe I just simple sit in silence, watching the sun wave good bye as it makes way to the moon and the stars shining bright.
On the short stroll down to the banks of the lake, I passed a herd of deer. Always a bonus to see wildlife and they didn’t seem to mind me all that much. None of them scattered away as I approached and what stands out the most to me is that they all lifted their heads, looking my way once I started talking to them. It was neat and felt as if they understood what I had to say. Still that wasn’t all. We carried on along the lake to find a sunny spot out of the cool breeze. Finding such on a rock in the lake, I took a seat and was surrounded by the calms of the water. A few minutes passed until we noticed the herd of deer walking along the shore, just where we had walked. Happy as a child to see them for a second time, I never had a herd of deer follow me and this was a first. Maybe I am that animal whisperer I have been called before, giving all creatures a sense that they have nothing to worry about from me.
Shortly afterwards I spotted a bird floating on the water that I had never seen before. Slightly bigger then a duck, it had unusual and beautiful markings. I watched it dive for food and resurface just a few feet from my rock. It was a loon and it was my first time seeing one. Just the night before, reading my friend Kyle’s book “Lost on the Appalachian Trail”, he was mentioning the haunting or mournful wail of the loon. The unique sound and how it would stir at the very essence of wilderness, being a sound you never forget. Intrigued, I looked it up on YouTube just the night before and I couldn’t agree more.
I sat there just watching the loon fishing, diving under and resurfacing again, I was lucky to get a close up shot and honestly forgot all about the sound Kyle had described. And then it happened and I heard the sound echo across the lake which initially reminded me of the sound of coyotes. It was clearer and singular and it was simply awesome. I felt blessed and the timing of just reading about it and being able to hear it in nature couldn’t have been any better. I found myself listening and waiting for another loon to call as with each sound I felt a little more at one with the wilderness that was surrounding me and the wilderness within my soul.
On the way back we passed another herd of dear and within a short period of time, I surely was granted to witness some pretty amazing things out there. A reminder to make those things happen, no matter how much time you have. Big things come in small packages and the fondest memories often require minimal effort and time.