Monday, September 06, 2010

The Power of Place

East Inlet
At 6 a.m. the East Inlet waters are still. Mist hovers and then disappears into the morning sun.  A family of loons fishes the length of the waterway, while I drift nearby and watch the adults teach their young to dive and how to strengthen their wings for the coming migration to the sea.

In early September, the water grasses and wild rice go to seed.  The geese fly in the characteristic V and hawks circle overhead, soaring on thermals and gathering for their own change of place.

It's the end of a long, hot, dry summer and the beginning of a transition time for me.  As a teaching/testing consultant, I begin a new school year.  As a partner, I celebrate a wedding anniversary.  As a writer, I dance the dance with time, responsibilities, and the stories that spill out of dreams, conversations, experiences, glimpsed moments and vistas, memories, and all those other places where the words + images abide.

But first, we make a pilgrimage to the East Inlet in far northern New Hampshire, just a few miles below the border with Canada, where The Nature Conservancy maintains the Connecticut Lakes Natural Reserve.

We've been coming here for 25 years, and yet it feels timeless -- the smells, the surrounding firs, the backdrop of mountains and sky, the rising and setting sun, the quiet.  It still feels remote, a place where we see moose, deer, fox, coyote, osprey, ducks, heron, hawks, otters, turtles and loons.

To my great relief I am a very different person, today.  My kayak lifts gently from the beach into the dark water.  I hear crows, a woodpecker, a loon's call.  A belted kingfisher hurls himself from a far branch and spears a minnow.  The sun breaks through the clouds in its promise of another warm day.

Over the week, I will gather strength for my own migration south.  I'll settle into the season and meet whatever it brings to my life and surroundings, knowing I can return to this source again and again. This is why we need protected places in our world, sanctuaries, reserves where nature can be nature 
in all its glory and grand indifference.

No comments: