06 July 2009

Lake Of Souls, Morning

The shrine is there, visible through open spaces between the trees, splendidly refulgent in shades of emerald, azure or silver depending on the mood of its cousins the sky and sun. The quicksilver surface is occasionally distorted by the splashing of waterfowl and fish, sensual ripples in a watery sheet.

The shrine is there, diffracted through the a million pinhole cameras created by the canopy of leaves and branches. A living shroud, perhaps, a green curtain concealing the mysteries within. The mysteries can be had, by those willing and patient enough to lift the edges of the shroud. Only in this way can one step through to the inner sanctum.

It was not always this way. Before, the lake was just a hole in the ground filled with water.

That was years ago and a persona away. Time has passed and the perceptions, the investments of feelings are different. The focus has changed. It used to be the lake was a pleasant novelty. A green loop to walk around, counting dogs and squirrels and marveling at the geese. Every so often a bike ride was in order, a welcome diversion on a comfortable spring weekend. At this lake, a pair of swans once lived, but the duet faded as one voice succumbed to the ravages of time and the other ceased singing, perhaps due to a broken heart.

The water was just water, green, wet, dotted with feathers, leaves and lily pads. Sometimes, in winter it acquired a crust of ice. Tempting to skaters, which are not allowed, and providing entertainment to onlookers watching ducks flop and skid on the slick surface. This ice was never majestic in an arctic sense, and never gave the impression that it covered anything more than a shallow lake, home to fish and frogs.

And later, souls.

The transformation was slow and subtle, from utilitarian feature of the landscape to a holy vessel akin to those containing the finger bones of saints or the teeth of prophets. It took years to happen, almost unnoticed on many hours of walks and quiet contemplation. The transformation may never have taken hold, too, if not for the beautiful and terrible pressures of time and life bearing down on the walker.

Awe inspiring joy and unspeakable tragedy. The psychic equivalent of plate tectonics acting on the soul and molding it into forms previously unknown and unseen. The walker talked to himself on his many trips around the lake. The lake began to listen to the prayers, the angry screeds, the quiet questions and simple joys discovered in the interior of the mind. There was transference of energy, and the lake stirred from a long, cold slumber.

And one day, the lake spoke back.

The walker realized this, one day in early summer. It was unusually cool and cloudy as he ambled down the path in the green stillness. The lake was there as always, waiting. Passing an opening in the trees and undergrowth, he could not escape the feeling that someone was waiting for him, watching, and whispering to him. There a path draped down a hill, leading into the trees. In the background, glints of silver and grey, almost as voices.

They were there, all of them, and had been for quite some time. Son, daughter, grandmother, family long passed and still of this earth: In his thoughts, in his words, his actions. All this walking and thinking and talking. It was no longer with him exclusively. It was with the lake.

The water now precious, bearing souls. They were with him, now and evermore. The walker climbed the hill, spreading his arms wide to embrace the water.

You are here, he said to the wind, come to me…I am home.


  1. Beautiful.

    Mind if I steal "splendidly refulgent"?

  2. This is how I feel when I visit family in the mountains of Tennessee. So many souls surround.

  3. I love these pictures, it makes me want to be there!

  4. Well. . . that's an awful lot for a lake to deal with!

  5. amazing.

    I love it.

    Hello, friend. :)

  6. Love this. Of course.
    Thank you for sharing.

  7. That was very moving. I loved all of the imagry in it of course. I have a piece I did a long time ago ... more tempestuous, but similar. Perhaps I'll share it.


  8. Irish, that was beautiful and lyrical.

  9. I am overwhelmed with this story and your ability to tell it.


"Let your laws come undone
Don't suffer your crimes
Let the love in your heart take control..."

-'The Hair Song', by Black Mountain

Tell me what is in your heart...