This past Monday, I had the day off from work, and finally answered a call. The Lake has been calling me for weeks, months. Someone, actually several someones, recently ask me why there? Why do I occasionally feel it's pull?
I have no real answer. I believe it to be it's utter hugeness, the scrubbing of the wind that blows there. The fact that the area in which I visit, even though there are signs of man every where, it still has the rawness, the very earthliness of nature's forces. It is an easy place to put life into focus. An easy place to find a balance of thought, emotion, an easy place for me to just be.
I took my camera along with me, I am not really sure why, I have no abilities in the photographic arena, but in winter, most especially, when I am out and about, I always wish I had it, so I took it along. Perhaps my way of documenting my thought processes whilst there.
And document I did, I made several trips up and down the portion of the beach I deemed it safe to walk upon. There were several areas that were not safe, to the untrained eye difficult to recognize, areas which were hip deep snow drifts covered with sand, looking like solid ground. Areas in which the snow and sand covered a thin layer of ice over the water, areas in which the ice looked quite shallow, but upon closer inspection, I could have had very wet feet and legs if I had not been careful. So I walked the well-trodden paths. I followed the paw prints of dogs in the snow and sand, and those of their masters. Most of the time anyway.
Each portion of the lake view, or the beach itself seemed to have something to say to me, some song of soothing.
When I first arrived, the intense exhilaration I felt surprised me, I felt as if my soul were home. Once I arrived, I hiked up a dune, and felt as if I were gathering the sights, the sounds, the air into me.....allowing them to wash over me, fill me with their magic.
But then a hesitation took me over, a feeling of why I am here? What made me think I would find my answers here? They were there though, I had them already, I just needed a place that I felt free to examine them.
Ignoring my initial hesitation, I started walking, knowing that it would come, it would just come upon me........I had no idea what, or where, but I knew I would find a spot, several spots that I was intended to stop at, places I was supposed to let something go, places I was supposed to find something, places I was supposed to just sit and absorb. I did.
I had walked only ten minutes or so, when the first wave hit me, the tears started falling, shoulder heaving tears, tears of sorrow, tears of remorse, tears of asking for forgiveness. In that place, for the first time, I was able to let them flow, let them overtake me, let them do their work. When my eyes cleared, there in front of me resting on the sand was a dark gray rock, in the shape of heart, running diagonally through the center was a continuous white line, effectively cutting it in half, into two connected but disconnected pieces. My first something.
I do not cry often, so the after effects always surprise me, a few sniffles, a few wet tracks down my cheeks, a few last shudders through my body, and I feel cleansed, more whole. Able to move on.
In that moving on, there was no continued thought, no continued sadness, there was only the admiration, the awe at what I was seeing.
Eventually, I came to a point along that eastward walk, when I knew it was time to turn, and head the other direction, it was if I was supposed to go the other direction. The Lake is one of the few places I visit that I allow this inner force to guide me. Looking down, a feather, one a bit tattered on the edges, but the lines still clean and whole. Me?
In my reversing of direction, I came across a small flow of water that was dividing the beach running from the dunes along the road side and feeding the Lake. This too, was a place I was supposed to be. I felt somehow that I must stay there, in that spot for as long as it took. Not evening knowing what it was. I have no idea how long I rested there, but eventually I heard only the flow of the water, only that, no far off voices on down the beach, (they are restoring several historic homes in the area, and I was even able to shut out the sound of power tools and hammers that the wind carried to me), in that meditative state, some of my truths were allowed their voices. Truths that I knew, but had been unable to truly accept. Acceptance filled me, swept over me, enveloped me. When I stood, at my feet one pure white feather, I picked it up too.
Turning my face once again to the west I continued to walk, again only breathing, allowing the cool crisp wind to refresh my spirit. Two more rocks jumped out at me, I still do not why they were the ones I had to pick up, they were not really that different than the multitude of others lying there, but pick them up I must, adding them to the growing collection in my left hand.
Another place was found, another spot in which I was supposed to stop, sit, contemplate. An old fallen log, gray with time and age. Smoothed from the wind and the sand. There I stopped looking into the past, and gazed toward the future. A future that is completely unknown, but one that contains amazing possibilities. I tried to refuse some of those possibilities, telling myself they were impossible. My heart would not allow that refusal. An adamant denial. I breathed, I allowed my eyes to scan the horizon, past the snow and ice covered water, deep into the horizon where the water still ran free. Farther yet, until I could just make out the shoreline barely perceptible through the clouds. I opened myself to the future, accepting what it may bring, I was joy at that moment. Looking down at the sand, another feather, a small silvery gray one, so soft, clean, and fluffy.
Opening my left hand, I looked at the things I had gathered, I held the three feathers in between my fingers, as the wind picked up, I let them fly, thinking they would all go in the same direction, flutter along the sand as they landed. But they didn't, one went straight down the beach, one flew out over the water,(OK...the snow over the water), and the other towards the dunes, I am sure there is some aerodynamic explanation. But to me there was a message, I have many paths available to me, I have choices, many choices.
Looking down into my hand, I had somehow gathered five rocks, all of different sizes, different colors, they came home with me, they now sit in a special place in my office at work, surrounded by small sticks scented with sandalwood, an altar to my future perhaps.
I left there that day, with only one ache left within me. An ache I fought, an ache I kept telling myself was wrong, very wrong. But with each mile that passed the ache only grew stronger. I gave into it. I am very happy I did. In answering that ache, it became the perfect end to a perfect day.