Monday, July 19, 2010

Morning on the Lake

The only ripples on the surface of this New Hampshire lake are from a pair of loons swimming toward each other, meeting in the center of the bay, and swimming off together. We heard them singing last night as we slept on the front porch. It was too hot to sleep inside the cabin this summer's night. Our son lent us an air-conditioner to protect us from the heat wave that is blanketing the region, but we chose to sleep outdoors instead.

This little acre of rustic paradise is alive with wildlife on this clear and calm morning. Chipmunks perform acrobatics as they climb blueberry bushes at the water's edge, enjoying freshly picked native berries for breakfast, as I did. Somehow the chipmunks never seem to fall into the lake.

Dragonflies flit across the glassy surface of the water, occasionally grazing the surface to pluck an insect for breakfast. Fish are watching them from under the surface, dreaming of a dragonfly breakfast. I watch one barely miss catching a dragonfly. He must settle for eating less mobile insects.

A motorboat slowly enters this bay through a narrow channel that adjoins this cove to the next. It speeds up as it hits deeper water, in a hurry to get to somewhere more important. I hear the boatmen's voices, shouting at each other in order to be heard over their engines.

At first I am offended at their intrusion into my peaceful setting. They seem out of harmony with this natural scene. Then I realize that these humans and their mechanical transportation are part of the environment also, as certainly as the loons that I hear calling in the distance.

We cannot escape our nature or Nature. Humans may try to dominate and subdue the earth in instinctive obedience to the Genesis command, but they cannot escape the grasp of earth. We are earth, formed of earth and will return to earth, however much we postpone the inevitable with hermetically sealed burial vaults.

We are clods of mud temporarily animated by God's breath, short-lived concoctions of earth and water, keeping our form only a little longer than the waves that slowly make their way across this bay to dissolve at the shoreline.

Calm returns to the cove. The humans, their boat and their yelling are gone. Water lilies grace the edge of the shoreline below our cabin on the lake. They rise from the silty bottom on long and slender stems. They open onto the surface in a pointed wheel of white and yellow to enjoy the sun.

We arise from the earth and water to bloom for a while, enjoying the sun and riding the waves. There are not many differences between water lilies and humans. Perhaps we are a little more conscious of our existence and our place in the world. But maybe not. Many people seem less aware of their roots and purpose than this water lily. At least the lily knows how to ride the waves and when to open to the sun.
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(I wrote this blog about ten days ago while vacationing in NH, but could only publish it now. There was no internet access where we were staying - a small blessing that I was very thankful for! My wife Jude took the photo from the front of our cabin on one such morning.)

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