Anne M. Smith-Nochasak:
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And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a lonely place, and rest a while.” -- Mark 6:31, RSV
Many tasks were calling me, many worries enveloping me, as I returned from my walk. The morning was warming rapidly, with mowing and watering and cleaning to complete before the heat covered me. Then I could fritter away the remaining hours with developing marketing materials, studying goals, and laying plans. Writing must wait; there was too much to be done.
But the water would not be ignored. I had been too long on shore, and my mind was suffocating in the dust of obligation.
The water beckoned.
In my heart, I longed for the river along the wetlands or the sheltered lake in the woodland, but I must go immediately: I bundled kayak and gear and headed for the nearby lake, where the summer residents gather.
This was a summer morning on this summer lake, but because it was Thursday, I anticipated privacy, slipping past humble and deserted docks to the lonely places.
This was, however, my first paddle on this lake this year, and the world had grown and moved without me.
The growl of chainsaws, the whir of drills, and the grumble of backhoes smothered the call of loons. Along the shore, new dwellings were rising, and the hills lay raw and bare as these new pioneers stripped trees and rocks to create their sanctuaries, their personal beautiful spaces.
The shore across the bay was gouged and stripped, tufts of natural greenery wedged between the lots, massive docks protruding, frames rising in some places, squat trailers claiming the space for now.
I paddled up the river that fed the lake, and even along its secret places, the earth was stripped to the water's edge.
I wanted them all to go away, but then, by what right do I decide the future? On whose authority do I refuse their presence?
Each person, here on this lake, has a dream. As I gazed over the wild places, I realized that they saw these, too; they recognized the glory of an untouched Nature watching over them. Their feet might be planted in the exposed rocks and earth, but they saw gardens and shade trees, docks with deck chairs in a row, little beaches where their children would splash with their buckets, growing strong and wise in the presence of Nature. They would carve out a place of beauty, with the wild places close and sheltering. They would make their dwelling place here, and raise their families far from the madness of our world.
Their dream is my dream, only with more money. Is that what bothers me?
So I will acknowledge their dreams, and paddle on to mine, there in the lonely places that are a little farther away, but still to be found.
There will always be places where loons are waiting. If I do not believe this, then I am without faith, without hope. And therefore without love.
There is room in my heart, and on this lake, for all our dreams.
And now, it is time to write, not a scrambled reflection for social media, but a story to bring me peace, as it did in my Wasaya Times.
Paddle well, my friends.