Reflections on my writings
... the woods caused my heart to flutter.
from Regina Merrill
Editor's note: This is a lovely little piece that I thought should be heard. Regina is a student of mine and has been for a year or so. Her writing sings in places.
The skies were overcast when I awoke that first morning. They tempted me to roll over, go back to sleep and forget the reason for coming up to camp for my work/retreat this year.
Camp area would be empty. No distractions, no reason not to write. I had promised, Tom, my husband to close up our little summer get-a-way before I returned home. Everything seemed to be an excuse at home. Now there were no excuses. There would be peace. I could work.
Swinging my legs over the side of the bed to the floor, it felt like an iceberg. Where had I put my slippers? Found some wool socks and then pulled on jeans and work boots. A heavy flannel shirt was in order. Found one and was dressed for the day.
Picked up the kettle from the stove and went to the sink to prime the pump, no problem there. The water was clear and cold. Lit a match and the gas flame glowed. Coffee was started. I had decided to settle for instant decaf and tea this week.
Walked out to a screened-in porch to view the lake. The waters were still. Shadows from the tall evergreens reflected easily upon the lake surface.
I caught a movement close to the shore. Looked again, more closely. A mother loon with two youngsters, one nestled on her back, the other obediently following closely behind. They seemingly just floated by. I’m not usually sentimental but this scene caused my heart to flutter. It brought sunshine into my heart. They moved slowly along the water’s edge. I watched until they were out of sight.
The kettle started whistling, reminding me of my first cup of coffee for the day. I had remembered to pick-up milk, bread, cold cuts, some corn and tomatoes on my way in, last night, at the General Store. Had brought some cereal, hot dogs, and canned goods from home. I should be all set for a few days.
Downed the cereal and took the coffee out on the porch. Squirrels were collecting their store of acorns for the long winter ahead, so natural for this fall season. I wondered, as I watched, if some acorns tasted better than others. For the squirrels seemed pretty choosy, rejecting one here and there. I’d always thought of them as green-bottomed with little beige-coned hats. But, today, they made it seem like serious business, expending lots of energy in their gathering and storing process.
Stirring my second cup of coffee, I heard a light rustle of leaves by the porch. Going out quietly, so as not to disturb anything in the yard, I saw a doe and her young white-freckled fawn, venturing to the water’s edge. The doe would move one-step at a time, her ears pricked intently, listening for any sounds to warn her of danger. The little one followed his mom, watching her closely for signals. A sip of water and they moved away from the water’s edge. The doe bounded a fence as the little one slipped between the rails and quickly back into the dark forest beyond the camp area.
How young Tom and Betty would have loved to see this experience.
I sat for a long time on the porch that afternoon, musing about the happening of the early morning. Was there a lesson in all this? The primeval naturalness of life, among the animals, as they went about their daily routine impressed me.
Perhaps this was some of the irritation I had experienced in the city. Tom and I had discussed this situation a few times. Could be we both need to look at this a little closer?
My writing flowed freely the next couple of days. As a matter of fact, I got two articles written, edited and typed up. Satisfied with these articles and knew the camp setting had a lot to do with it.
I was saddened knowing I would be leaving camp the next day. Got myself going and put up the shutters. Closed down the toilet. Cleaned out the fridge. Gathered all linens and curtains. Turned off the water pump. All was in order but still reluctant to take off for home. Which home was home, maybe that was the question?
Finally, returning home, I let Tom know the writing had gone well and asked if we could have a talk that evening.
We spoke of my experience at camp. How the peacefulness of the lake, I felt, had allowed me to enjoy the time before settling into a work routine and accomplish all I needed to do. How the animals, I had so enjoyed watching their ways, quieted my soul. I believe these experiences opened me to my use of my writing skills effectively.
I was still questioning why I hadn’t wanted to leave camp and Tom pointed out how earlier we had spoken about winterizing the camp. Then we could stay up there longer to enjoy the fall season.
Suddenly Tom was excited, which was so unlike him.
“Let’s get going on it. We could put our house on the market, at a ‘Fair Market Price’. This house is in good shape, as is. The kids can start school now in Maine. I’ll call Betty and Lou this afternoon and set it up with them until the trailer is in place. We’ll rent or buy a good double-size trailer while our dream house, ‘Our Log Cabin’, is being built,” he said.
Tom was all fired up now. I could hear it in his voice and there was no fear of new beginnings. Since Tom also worked from home as a referral architect and local surveyor, in summer, our jobs or insurance were not questions.
The kids were thrilled. Their friends would be year round. They were already enrolled in the regional schools and living with their friends.
The house sold quickly to the first perspective buyers that came through the door for more than we expected. They even put $17,000 down that we could keep preventing pulling out later. Our Log Cabin home could begin in the spring. The new trailer fit in perfectly where the camp had been leaving us a view of lake and mountains. Tom had decided to move the camp off to the side, wanting to fix it up for a workroom.
Our neighbors were thrilled and all was arranged by Thanksgiving. God had surely given us His blessing.
November 7, 2008