Poetic Trip Report

Posted by Robert N Pruden on Jul 18, 2005

Instead of bringing my digiatl camera for last nights paddle, I brought my pen and notebook. There might be too much writing here but I think I painted a reasonable picture of my experiences. Hope you enjoy the read.

Eden Moments

Low slung sun raises evening dew from the lake Ducks float peacefully in pairs or in groups They are as undisturbed by me as I am by them Except I listen to their calls The sounds of the Prairie lakes The tepid air is moist to the touch Barely moving Spicy boggy scents, like skunk and sage, waft across the water Glassy lake reflects Eden on its surface Myriad species of birds call to one and other A lone gull lazily glides by So low I could touch it if it were a few feet closer Just as two mallards glide past Closer than they usually allow And in this moment I belong here Because they allow me

Staccato bursts of bird song erupt across the lake then all is quiet Except for the sounds of the immigrant family on the beach Living their Eden moment Sharing their momentous joy of unity and harmony Blessed with laughter from three generations An elder smiled with joy as I walked by, carrying the VJ to the water She couldn’t speak English but our greetings matched each other’s desire for peaceful exchange And now I am on the still waters of Astotin Lake during a windless summer evening

Mirror reflections echo my Eden Tranquility enters my mind My heart finds the peace it couldn’t find in the city And I paddle And I paddle And I paddle with gentle strokes

A ¾ moon will shine upon me this night to light my way along I will share my soul with Astotin For I am here to open myself to all that this life has to offer Day – night, sinking sun falls through lowering skies Risen moon will guild my night in silver

A great blue heron casually strides through the shallows of an island I see it in the distance Its lighter front feathers are illuminated by the glow of the evening sun Thick stands of duck grass form a watery forest of vegetation rife with waterfowl and nesting birds Another heron stands in foot deep water As still and fine as a Michaelangelonian sculpture

The air is thick with the sounds of avian well being And I am a blessed witness to its peaceful aura And suddenly, there it is – I hear them now Singing their “Aria to Life” from across the green waters of Astotin – the loons are singing their songs

Golden-red sun hangs at the horizon Herons glide low over evergreen forest at the edge of time Something large trounces through wet slushy island ground – making a terrible racket The VJ cuts silently through red glass filled with water lilies As purple dusk rises humidly Cattle low from fields far across the lake yet sound as if they are just in front of me

The sun is gone now Has left its twilit remembrance A red aura Its promise of another fine day to come Clouds still burn red-orange and fade to dark purple

Fir forest darkens Mystery increases A loon cries furtively Then all is quiet Except for the sounds of my paddle in the water

I see the loon now It is alone as I am It minds me not as I mind it not It is in its natural place as I am It calls out with throaty appeal not more than 15 feet from where I float I see it stretch out its neck and see its throat bellow out haunting notes And tears wet my eyes My ears are filled with the music of Eden Echoes answered by echoes

A beaver swims by leaving that all too familiar Vee-shaped wake behind Its head seems barely afloat Supported by four webbed feet and a wide bladed paddle of a tail

Above the dark forest two mallards fly towards the ethereal conflagration that remains of the day Ember sky As lunar reflections begin to paint the dark edges of Eden behind me Foreboding forest is quiet now While water-borne life carries on its gentle call I must move now as the mosquito dictates

An easy wind picks up The water remains glass Cut by the bow of the VJ Beaver slam-dunks somewhere from afar Cattle low The bats are out now Zigging and zagging their way through dense clouds of a mosquito buffet And I must paddle yet again Or lose pint to mosquito blood lust

I see a nesting grebe through the rising moist-bog scented night air The dark forest behind it halloed by the pink guilt purple darkness of twilight It is surrounded by protective and choking weeds But I approach from an unexpected angle so it swims away from its responsibilities Even though I have altered my course to avoid it by far Grebes are the most sacrificing waterfowl I know

Leaden waters Mercurial reflections Darkness guilt with lunar brilliance And always the nattering mosquitoes in my ears

I see the dorsal fin of a small fish cruise the surface of the water Like sharks out hunting for prey

Nighttime fog creeps from land to water Its wraith-like misty shroud cools my skin Amplifies a hoot owls call Coyotes yelp nearby A farmyard dog barks The sounds of night sing eerily Creatures unseen chirp and burble in the dark I am surrounded by fog Something “whoops” loudly on the nearby shore While silver moonlight dances of mercurial waters

I write by moon and starlight now About stars that appear one by one to fill the night sky While all is quiet Bird and animal rest While I paddle

Flashing arcs of moonlight illuminate the wetness of the blade of my carbon fibre paddle Echoes of ancient voices mumble from within the swirling vortexes of the water That each blade stroke sends washing astern The Aurora Borealis flit their trailing dance across the northern skies above me Suddenly a loon cries out Something “Whoop! Whoops!” And the moon dances its silvery shadow across the black surface of the lake

I am at peace Flying solo Yet not alone Fulfilled At one with myself and my surroundings Except for those mosquitoes With which I’ll never feel any kind of emotional “oneness”

A perfect reflection of the Aurora Borealis engraves itself on the black surface of the water to my left There is a perfect reflection of the brilliant yellowing moon on my right More “Whoop! Whoop!” erupts from the forest

Waves of moonlight glint off of the pages of my notebook In unison with the ripples on the surface of the water That echoes my passage Something croaks behind me and yet I feel peace

A bat flits past Returns for another pass then determines that I am too large a meal So it moves on Get the mosquitoes, oh night flier, I don’t mind I lose my sense of Buddhist life-value where mosquitoes are concerned

I feel Eternity brush past me in the warm wafts of night air I want to catch it and breathe it deeply Hold it in my lungs forever Allow it to permeate my body with its power Infuse my blood with its timeless clarity And never go back to just barely feeling alive Without this open sense of feeling

Pulsing moonlight washes my soul Which I have opened and exposed to Astotin For any experience that the lake graces me with tonight

My night paddle ends And I leave with a heavy heart For after light must come darkness After joy must come sadness One without the other is oblivion

Yet tomorrow is another day.

Robert N Pruden July 17, 2005