It was an evening of miracles, of the small lake kind. Today, the postmaster declared that the ice was off the lake – there was no more to be seen from the Bridge of Names, and thus some lucky Laker is now the winner of the annual contest. Only two days ago the lake was still covered, but the ice was melting from underneath, being absorbed into movement. No more this year will I hear the singing and groaning of the Lake as the heat and the cold collide, and let loose her terrible voice at night time, reminding me of how thin are the layers of protection we have constructed between ice and heat, night warmth and night death.
And, just like that, it was over. Ripples I can see with my eyes, not hear with my ears. As late afternoon turned to evening, we watched two errant bits, float away and melt at sunset. Who was there to witness these last minutes of winter, but the loon who has returned again! This year he is not alone, for he has a mate with him for the journey. TJ thinks he had one long before this, but he was commuting and now she’s come to see what she thinks of the place. He says we should put up a sign that says, “Canucks Welcome Here!” I think he’s just come by to show her off, and treat her to the best rest stop and fishing on the way north.
They would be in good company if they decide to stay. As we walked under the big white pines, we were blessed by the sight of a bald eagle soaring in the choppy wind, the whole length of the lake. Maybe it was a she who circled back around the village and all the way back to perch high over the lake in the woods behind us. We danced on the brown grass where there was nothing but thick ice and glorious snow two weeks ago, and came home to greet our neighbour the wolf who was taking his human for a walk.
I’m not sure what to make of all of this – the blue-green water and sand and watercress, the feel of spongy needles and dry moss and lichens underfoot, the sacredness and the tenderness of the place, the out-of-the-way vulnerability to that which lies just out of view, the healing power of water and walking, the public works and the private worshippers, the devastating fires, the labour of the men who tiled the lake and stream banks with stones during the Great Depression, and the spiritual strength of the first peoples who were driven out of here by unspeakable crimes. In awe I put my arms around a massive white pine and greeted an old granny who has witnessed all of this and much more.