My Blog List

Monday, September 10, 2012

On Flanders Pond

         Did I ever tell you that I love this place? This serene and hushed cove where I have been fortunate enough to spend a few days the end of many summers? Fragrant with the scented balsam , cedar and hemlock. Wrapped in the misty foggy mornings. Dappled by blue and gold days of sunshine. Sleeeping in the coolness of clear starlit midnights. Whispered to by waves, and breezes. Fed by the bounty of the sea. I took no pictures of the eagle, nor the loons, but let me draw them with words. No picture could do justice to the eagle. Early in the morning, all shadowy and still, he dips and dives for his breakfast. When the sun comes up, he soars and wheels, flashing his colors, and he dips and dives again. The water drops fall like diamonds from his wings as he mounts the air and flies to his tree top. That highest tree top across the way. There he sits, all hunkered and fierce, and he screams his wild and mighty scream. The loon will swim by in the day light. He's huge and bright, and he skims across the water, dives deep and comes up again a far, far piece away from where he went down. But he's quiet. You never hear him in the day time. It is only then, in the misty mysterious midnight , with the fog hiding all the world, then you hear him. His long lonely tremelo, his mournful wailing, sobbing song. It fills the night. It echoes over the waters. It cries into the forest and the camps and the pond and the sky. Remember in the Heidi story when Heidi asks the Grandfather "Why does the eagle scream so?" And the Grandfather answered that when he sits up there in the clean pureness of nature and he looks down with his keen eyes and sees the dirt and the wretchedness and the pettiness of man and what he has done to Gods world, then he has to scream down at us to tell us his disgust. I think perhaps the loon, too, as he glides about in the daylight and sees what a mess we make? Then at night he cries out against us , laughing and sobbing at how we have continually ruined and ignored the world that God made.
      Isaiah the prophet comforts us with these words " But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint."
          The long wet dock is a must. Here the kids and the dogs run. Once you have heard bare feet on the dock, you will never forget the sound. It will ever bring back to you memories of that great sploosh when you get to the end, and dive in. The way the water got in your nose when your brother ran up behind you, and pushed you off. The way the boat thumps against it when you got back from fishing. The way the little water birds hopped across it. The way the frogs chugged at dusk. The way the fishing poles leaned against the posts. The dreams you dreamed as you dozed there in the sunshine, the picnics you had there , all sandy and wet. Everyone should have a shadowy dock to pull out from their memories when they get old and sad.
        The little house out back, so necessary to camp life. Here the sun light dapples the trees and the forest floor. It's not really so bad, either. At night, when you go out with your flashlight, tripping over roots, feeling the kiss of the night breeze, hearing the owls talking and the water lapping against the shore and slapping the sides of the john boat. Then you go back up the trail in to the house, trip over the dogs, and shiver with that aaahhhh feeling of crawling safe and snug under the quilt.

        The fishing fun begins after dark. The tiki torch sheds a warm glow over the dock. The night sky is full of stars. Our glow-in-the-dark bobbers streak over head like fiery meteors as we cast them into the wind. They float , red glimmers in the black water until a fish is on, and then they disappear and send us dashing for the poles. Everything looks different in the starshine. Shadowy and secretive, soft and peaceful. Our voices carry over the water. Our laughter sounds lilting and far away. We fill a bucket with perch , leaving the bucket filled with water until morning. Then the master fillet man goes to work. Fish fry coming up!
       The campfire flickers and glows. It crackles and sizzles. It sends a smokey fragrance blowing across the pond. A camp fire is friendly. It goes way back, back to Indians and pioneers and mountain men and cowboys. Men have hunkered over campfires, cooking fish and game, boiling tea and coffee, warming hands and feet, drying clothes and jerky, keeping the wild things at bay. Thats the things you see in the flicker of a campfire. All those lonesome, friendly times and places, all those long ago dreams and faces. Thats what a campfire conjures up.We have a late night snack of blackened hotdogs and crispy, melting in the middle marshmallows. Then its into the sauna. Hot steamy goodness cleansing our bodies and softening pur muscles and minds. A brisk scrub with a bar of Irish Spring, a run down the sand and into the water, cool and senuous on the skin. Who doesn't sleep the sleep of the pure heart after that?
         Going clamming at low tide, we are. The boys catch a pile of lobsters off the floating dock. Now we will eat like royalty! Steamers and fresh lobster dipped in butter. We invite Tinker, who lives next door. It's Tinkuh, I believe. Born in Bar Harbor, lived there all his eighty one years. Has a camp out here at the pond to get away from the craziness of a Bah Hahbuh summer. He brings us a bluberry gingerbread that he has just made. Spicy, fragrant, moist, warm. We add a dab of ice cream and we lick our buttery fingers and listen to him tell about eighty years of Maine living.

        Low tide, we girls head for the sea glass beach, buckets on our arms. We walk the sand with our eyes on the ground, stopping to bend and pick up a treasure and straighten up again, the shell seekers dance at low tide by the sea. Each piece that goes into our bucket is a small piece of a large story that we will never know. Someone, some where, some time, treasured this cup or plate or bottle. How long has lain broken , washed by the waves and the tides all over the world, before we pick up these fragments, so smooth and softened by time?

         Do I have to leave? Well, I know I doI know I wouldn't appreciate it if it wasn't so rare. But I have my memories to carry me over to next year. Beautiful place by the sea. Giver of happiness, giver of dreams. God bless my family on Flanders Pond!                                                                          


  1. what bliss! I can hear the cry of that loon in the full of woe is the world, yet just as perfectly full of beauty!

  2. So in tune with the post I just read @ Holy Experience...the good and evil of this world side by side...

  3. Oh good! There was no crazy letters to decipher! =)