Monday, November 2, 2009

Late Season at Pyramid Lake

What a bright shining day today, not too cold, little wind -- just perfect for a late-season paddle. Except, darn it all, my boat had a leak! In the summer, who cares if your seat gets a little soggy? But this time of year, that water is mighty COLD! So up north I drove, carrying my Hornbeck boat up to Hornbeck Boats in Olmstedville. They told me they could fix it while I waited. And they did. The nicest guys in the whole wide world run that place. (And the nicest golden lab in the world lays her head in your lap while you visit.) If you're looking to buy a canoe or a kayak, you should check out their website here. And do go visit.

So anyway, there I was, just a few miles away from my favorite place in the whole wide world, Pyramid Lake, which lies about midway between Schroon Lake and Ticonderoga. And my boat was all fixed and ready to paddle. So off I went to Pyramid Life Center, a retreat center where I volunteer and which offers the only access to this isolated wilderness lake. The center is now closed for the season, so there was not another soul around as I slipped my boat into the water and headed out, keeping close to the shore where the sun warmed the banks and sent golden ripples of light up and down the trunks of the pines and birches. I stopped paddling and just drifted a while, straining my ears to hear any sound, just ANY sound but that of my own breathing. Absolute silence! Not a cricket, not a bird, not the wind in the trees nor the splash of tiny wavelets against the shore. I think there are very few places on earth where one can experience such silence.

How quickly the sun sinks behind the mountains this time of year. It soon fell behind the island, backlighting the hills and trees, which stood in stark profile against the late afternoon sky.



It was time to head home, an hour's drive away, so I paddled quickly back toward shore. Only to rest my paddle and watch, as a doe and her fawn browsed the shrubbery near the beach. Probably the same pair my friends and I saw last week, when we stopped by here in the rain.


Sometimes I can hardly believe my good fortune: to have free access to a place of such pristine beauty, to have such a dear little boat that carries me easily into the heart of wilderness, to have at my age the health and strength to enjoy it all, and the freedom to seize whatever gorgeous days come my way in every season. And to top it all off, my way home was lit by a rose and orange sunset off to the west, and a huge and golden Hunters' Moon rising in the east.

5 comments:

Ellen Rathbone said...

A serenipitous day for you!

Ellen Rathbone said...

Okay, how about serendipitous?

Kenton and Rebecca Whitman said...

What a great adventure! We love businesses where there's a dog around =) And the silence you describe -- we've only experienced it once or twice, and how marvelous it is! It's a bit similar, for us at least, to the perfect darkness of a deep cave. As frightening as it can be to think of losing one of our senses, there is something wondrous and peaceful about a moment with no sight or no sound. Everything seems so perfect, so still . . .

Woodswalker said...

To Ellen and Kenton and Rebecca: Thanks for the comments. How I love sharing these serendipitous moments with you. I wish you could have been with me. You might like to know that I have experienced absolute darkness at Pyramid Lake, as well as absolute silence. I was staying there off-season with all the lights off and the new moon long gone from the sky and tried to walk by starlight, but under the trees I could not see my feet, let alone where I might be stepping. I did hear the loons calling, though. Magic!

Bird said...

The joy in your writing makes me want to do a cartwheel. I've never done a cartwheel before, but that's how it makes me feel!