Saturday, March 20, 2010

Birthday Bouquet

March 9, 2010
Moreau Lake State Park

What better place to spend my birthday than Moreau Lake ? At least I can get an hour or two of solitary rambling in, before going to work later this afternoon.
Other people have pool parties on their birthdays.
I am born too early in the year to even have a vernal-pool party !
At the very least, it should be something involving water, to be true to my Piscean nature.

With that in mind, the next best thing today is a walk along the Back Bay, which is actually another section of the main lake, a quieter one, beyond the Fishing Bridge.

Here I walk along Odonata Shore, which in a different season, will be thrumming with dragonflies and damselflies. This morning, it is seemingly quiet along the shore.
But just pause at the water’s edge – there’s a lot going on !
There’s barely a foot or two of open water, peeking out beyond the graying ice-sheet that still covers the bay.

The thin edges of the ice are crystal clear. Henry Thoreau writes of playing around with ice on a day very like today, and of trying to make “a burning-glass” from a piece like this.

It doesn’t quite work for me (nor did it for him), so I continue my stroll, peering down into that narrow window into the water-world before me.

Instead of hothouse flowers for my birthday,
I have bouquets of lacy leaves,

Each one more beautiful as I walk along

Lovingly crafted by time and decay during the winter months.

There’s the briefest glimpse of minnows, my fishy cousins, darting away as my shadow looms over them. (Can’t blame them.)
I stop and still-hunt the shallow depths.

I am surprised to see spiders, dashing around on the surface of the water. The water supports them with the slightest of dimples, like a transparent tempur-pedic mattress.

Then I spy something larger than a minnow, a slow wavy movement in the forest of dead leaves along the sandy floor.
It’s a newt !

He of course, spies me,

and glides under an oak leaf, not bothering to tuck in his tail.

But he’s very still, and the tail is camouflaged.
Had I passed this spot a minute later, I would have never noticed him.

Birthdays are a time to reflect.
On Time, on Getting Older, on the Past and the Future.
Today, I also saw ghostly reminders of mortality –
and of all the little-deaths we endure from time to time

And reminders of the possibilities of rebirth, as well.

I am so happy to be alive in this world full of wonders. In what ways can I give thanks for these gifts ?

For every day there are presents without number, waiting to be unwrapped.


  1. A lovely essay, Sue. And count on you to show us the beauty in a mess of decomposing leaves. Just stunning! Plus, your spider photo captured those water dimples perfectly. I am always amazed at what your eye can see and your camera show us. Happy Birthday.

  2. thanks for sharing your thoughts and reminding us to enjoy this gift of life. happy birthday