We’ve known for a while that that day would come. Ever since our beloved site became protected by the Maine land trust (yes, I know it’s a good thing) and the road out to the site was cleared, just last year, actually making it passable by car (what were they thinking?) Well, we’ve known. Still, I was not prepared.
On our first day, after settling into our other home-away-from-home, The Pines Lodge and Camps on Sysladobsis Lake, we excitedly made our way out to our site. Walking in on the tree-covered moss-laden path, I found myself, as I have only in recent years, holding my breath a bit hoping no one else would be there. Whooooooo!! Lucked out again!
“Hello magnificent pines! I see more little ones are catching up! Oh, how I’ve missed you beloved pond – your sacred, deep, waters. I am here again to play and frolic and be cleansed in your holy depths. Mr. Turtle? Are you still here guarding the Spirit of these waters?”
Oh my…shhhhhhhh, don’t tell heaven…heaven is already here!
Then, we read in the small log book at the site, a short entry by a father who’d just been there with his son. “Here with my five-year-old son. Great spot for fishing. Beautiful. One of my favorite spots on the planet.” My heart paused with some unfamiliar, just-awakening-yet-unformed-knowing of things. It was a tender, kind, omen.
Next day we hiked and visited another spot we’d found last year and then the following day headed back to our site. But, when we reached the end of the road, we saw a trailer. “Okay,” I thought. “They’re probably just fishing at the stream.” But as we walked down the path, and our site came into view, we saw a tarp and a cooler. My heart sunk, really sunk, deep into some unknown cavern where all I could hear bouncing off the walls was “Noooooooo!” and soon after, “And, what if they’re here the whole week and we don’t get to go back?”
Later that day I went for a long walk and a swim at The Pines and tried to let it all sink in. I confess there was some small part of me feeling just a bit silly for how I was taking it all. Most assuredly, all my long study of eastern notions such as non-attachment and non-permanence had just, unceremoniously, flown right out the window. “Total nonsense!” I wailed. I knew there was no way I was going to pull myself up from the depths of my sorrow-filled caverns on the ropes of such lofty, ethereal, spiritual precepts. No! This was serious!
And then, laying on the dock, “Here with my five-year-old son. Great spot for fishing. Beautiful. One of my favorite spots on the planet.” And, something started to clear. That night we had dinner with others staying at The Pines but I was quiet inside just needing to let this we-knew-it-would-happen-one-day event settle into its rightful place in my bones.
Then…the next morning, sitting on our porch, a bald eagle flew down right in front of us and landed in a nearby tree. It must have paused there for a good minute as if to make sure his message was being delivered. It was. Eagle is one of my spirit animal helpers in the Shamanic world – one of two I’ve had with me since the beginning of my long years with this practice. The Eagle comes when I need to soar high, to broaden my view, and to see beyond the surface of things. Suddenly, I see again a father and his little boy fishing, happy, and so enjoying the pond in all its sacred beauty – in a way known only to them.
And, through my tears and the lump in my throat, my heart smiles…unburdened and free.
That day we discovered another spot at the end of a narrow dirt road just past two land trust camp sites. Not being an official site, we noticed it had that same feel our site had had when we first discovered it over twenty-five years ago – sandy, gritty, untamed, wild. I was drawn, in the moment, to create a wooden treasure there (the tall one in the pictures below) to take back to share with our gracious hosts at The Pines.
On our last day, the folks at our site had (most graciously) left and we got to spend a fully glorious day there. And, again, I was drawn to create another wooden treasure to share (the smaller one in the pictures below). And, I wrote the following to our beloved site as if to secure its memory and place in my overflowing, grateful, will-love-you-forever heart…
Hanging limbs help me down the steep slope as the sound of You, rushing free, draws me in. I pause and ask the Spirit of the Turtle for permission. Then, leaving my clothes behind, I slowly step in and I’m soon submerged by the still cool waters below. And, I am born again. Your rotting stumps and jutting limbs guide my passage for, yes, here, You are as dangerous as you are beautiful. Yet, in this place, stripped down of all trappings, I feel bold and untamed like You. I lay back on Your altar and I am baptized, once again, by the cool waters of Your grace. And, unbound by all I have been or will be, I am set free.
As I rest on Your pine-needled, soft, ground, I can feel the Spirit of You seeping up into me as I watch Your tree limbs dance against the wide blue endless sky – those trees I have long loved since first finding them fledgling upwards in green wonder all those years ago.
But now, the sun is making its way down in Your darkening sky. It is time to go. But my heart prays…prays from the very core of my being…alive and pulsing with the heart of You…
Thank you…Spirit of this Place for all the ways you have gifted me for so long…
Thank you…Spirit of the Eagle, for only on your wings could I have been lifted from the caverns of despair to soar with you…Only on Your wings could I have been made to see what You see…a father, a little boy, and two fishing poles…
And be able to say with a heart overflowing…
Welcome! I’m so glad you’re here…
PS: For those of you wanting to read how we first came to find the spot all those years ago, read “The Wild Sacred.” And, for those wanting to understand the shhhhhhh…don’t tell heaven…check out “Don’t Tell Heaven.”
The pictures below of the sunrises are from our porch at our home-away-from-home, the beloved Pines. You can check them out at thepineslodge.com. It is the most special place…
6 responses to “The Spirit of Things”
Great story, great writing. Thank you Stephanie
Thank you, Richard. So nice to hear from you…!
How beautiful dear Stephanie. Love to you and Doug.
Thank you dear Anne. Always so much love to you…:)
Beautiful story. Thank you for sharing.💕
Thank you, Ellen!