Longing To Be the Egret

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There is a lake
Upon which I live
A place I found long ago
I had been walking for years
Through overgrown forests
Making camp each night
Sleeping alone in the dark
But one day I broke into a clearing
And there was an isolated lake
Pristine and untouched
Undiscovered and unknown

On the lake
I built a home
And a long dock
One that would take me
Out into the intimate depths
Of her clear waters

I would lay on my stomach
Staring into her depths
Talking little but with a head full of thought
From her glass surface
My image reflected
Making all my flaws and fears evident
And she taught me that they were erasable
Not a permanent part of me

One night the moon was high
I was up late and unable to sleep
And she called to me
I left the safety of the dock and slipped naked
Into her waters
The surface breaking and closing around me
We said little
As I glided slowly through the dark waters
All the unknown
Wasn’t scary anymore
I knew not how far her depths plunged beneath me
I still recognized that I knew nothing
Of the life that lay ahead of me
But that didn’t matter anymore
I stayed for hours
And all fears and hurt
Melted away

The next day I built the dock longer
Stretching further out than I had dared go previously
And I built a tiny boat
And in that boat I float aimlessly
Letting the breeze push me
In slow circles for hours
Other times letting the oars
Cut through the liquid
Pushing me faster
Feeling the spray against my face as I laugh out loud

The crystal waters sometimes darken
Storms churn her banks
Tossing her waters high into the air
The wind screams off of her
Bending and twisting the trees that surround
I watch from my window
Waiting for the calm
And in the morning
I begin cleaning the beaches
Repairing the dock
Collecting my boat that has broken loose
From the moorings

At times the fog rolls in
The mystery she is
Deepens
She hides
With Only the quiet call of the loon
Making its way out of the soup

And I find it all incredibly inspiring
I sit through it all with wonder

Often times I watch
The long legged Egrets
Silently glide inches off her surface
Wing tips nearly touching the lake on the down stroke
From one end of her placid waters to the other
As if they are one in the same
Performing together in paradisiacal synchronicity
As if they participate in some symbiotic relationship of mutualism
And I am ashamed
That such beauty
Fills me with such emulous thoughts
She is ever changing and mercurial
Yet remaining a constant and unflappable influence
On everything that surrounds her
Just as the lily pads and minnows depend on her for life
As do I

There are times when she unsettles me
When I feel as if I have failed her
When I think perhaps she is angry
That I built my home so close to her waters
And other times when I feel she believes I built it too far away

At night I lay quietly
Listening to her waters
Rhythmically spilling onto the shore
Over and over
And during the day
I listen to her breath
Blowing across the Elms
And through the hanging wind chimes
All of this
Creates the song
That unshackles my soul
Giving me immense joy

But I know that one summer
The quiet boat rides
Will come to an end
No longer will I stroll down the long dock
To look at my reflection in the water
The dock will sink slowly into her tears
My tiny boat will float away
And the house will fall into disrepair
But my spirit will forever remain
I will finally be the Egret
Flying inches above her
Watching the sunset
Make paintings across her surface
For eternity
And she will know that I loved her

Hello Dan’l Webster

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Cabins shaded by Dawn Redwoods
Leafy roadways shadowed by Elms
From countries of foreign tongues
To airplanes where we slept
Forest City unfolded in front of us
The land of Finger Lakes, alluvial flood plains and gorges

It was there among the conifer forests
I found a stillness
A wet earthy smell
Wrapping its arms around me

I trotted across invisible boundaries
Set arbitrarily by those who wished
To instill safety into my existence
But safety offered no reward
Eyes could only see so far
And the unknown lay in front of me
Like a dark curtain closed across a stage
And I wanted the show to begin

Amphibious wonders
Crawling across the bright green moss
Hiding under the fern fronds
Fragile as newborn babies
Just born from the cool waters
Of the ponds and puddles

I collected them with care
And in my gently closed fists
They congregated and awaited inspection
My very own Dan’l Webster and Mr. Toad

Crossing back into the asylum that had been created
I am detected
By the gate keeper
Who had noticed my disappearance and alerted the guard
Ushered inside
I accepted my punishment
It was an acceptable risk
That I had taken on
And now I would pay the piper

For punishment is fleeting
But what my eyes had seen
My nose smelled
Hands held
And the unknown lands my feet had touched
Were memories I would keep
And fondly remember
For the rest of my long life