Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Like Ghost Lake

I went out to help Bruce mark some lots on a project that he has been working on. This is looking down on the camping area. We had to borrow a canoe and paddle across the lake to finish marking a few spots. My stupid life belt wouldn't zip up and I was so terrified paddling across that cold void I kept splashing water in my face from paddling too fast. If I hadn't believed in Bruce's canoeing ability, I would never have been able to even attempt that crossing. The line from "Ghost Lake" (and the outcome of that poem) kept running through my head..."Ghost Lake's a dark lake, a deep lake and cold"

On the return trip, I whipped off my bear spray belt and notched it over the preserver. That made me feel a lot better. 

I don't like for Bruce to go out there on his own. There is no cell phone coverage and he is ambling through a 3000 acre tract of land. If something happened (predator attack, moose attack, canoe tipping over, breaking a leg) I wouldn't even be able to find him. If he doesn't arrive home by a set time, I would just call Search and Rescue. I think he lets me go with him because he's convinced he can outrun me in case of bear attack. Fiona LOVES to go with us.

In case you are not familiar with it, here is the beautiful and haunting poem:

The Skater of Ghost Lake
By William Rose Benet

Ghost Lake's a dark lake, a deep lake and cold:
Ice black as ebony, frostily scrolled;
Far in its shadows a faint sound whirs;
Steep stand the sentineled deep, dark firs.

A brisk sound, a swift sound, a ring-tinkle-ring;
Flit-flit,--a shadow with a stoop and a swing,
Flies from the shadow through the crackling cold.
Ghost Lake's a deep lake, a dark lake and old!

Leaning and leaning with a stride and a stride,
hands locked behind him, scarf blowing wide,
Jeremy Randall skates, skates late,
Star for a candle, moon for a mate.

Black is the clear glass now that he glides,
Crisp is the whisper of long lean strides,
Swift is his swaying--but pricked ears hark.
None comes to Ghost lake late after dark!

Cecily only--yes it is she!
Stealing to Ghost Lake, tree after tree,
Kneeling in snow by the still lake side,
Rising with feet winged, gleaming, to glide.

Dust of the ice swirls. Here is his hand.
Brilliant his eyes burn. Now, as was planned,
Arm across arm twined, laced to his side,
Out on the dark lake lightly they glide.

Dance of the dim moon, a rhythmical reel,
A swaying, a swift tune--skurr of the steel;
Moon for a candle, maid for a mate,
Jeremy Randall skates, skates late.

Black as if lacquered the wide lake lies;
Breath as a frost-fume, eyes seek eyes;
Souls are a sword edge tasting the cold.
Ghost Lake's a deep lake, a dark lake and old! 

 Far in the shadows hear faintly begin
Like a string pluck-plucked of a violin,
Muffled in mist on the lake's far bound,
Swifter and swifter, a low singing sound!

Far in the shadows and faint on the verge
Of blue cloudy moonlight, see it emerge,
Flit-flit,--a phantom, with a stoop and a swing . . .
Ah, it's a night bird burdened of wing!

Pressed close to Jeremy, laced to his side,
Cecily Culver, dizzy you glide.
Jeremy Randall sweepingly veers
Out on the dark ice far from the piers.

"Jeremy!" "Sweetheart?" "What do you fear?"
"Nothing my darling,--nothing is here!"
"Jeremy!" "Sweetheart?" "What do you flee?"
"Something--I know not; something I see!"

Swayed to a swift stride, brisker of pace,
Leaning and leaning, they race and they race;
Ever that whirring, that crisp sound thin
Like a string pluck-plucked of a violin;

Ever that swifter and low singing sound
Sweeping behind them, winding them round;
Gasp of their breath now that chill flakes fret;
Ice black as ebony--blacker--like jet!

Ice shooting fangs forth--sudden--like spears;
Crackling of lightning--a roar in their ears!
Shadowy, a phantom swerves off its prey . . .
No, it's a night bird flit-flits away!

Low-winging moth-owl, home to your sleep!
Ghost Lake's a still lake, a cold lake and deep.
Faint in its shadows a far sound whirs.
Black stand the ranks of its sentineled firs.

1 comment:

Sue @ A Colourful Canvas said...

Hauntingly beautiful! I need to go put on a sweater now.