The Beaten Path


by Richard L. Provencher

When challenges in life threaten to overwhelm me I pup-tent on a three-acre island at Economy Lake, for the weekend.

Its quarter mile distance from the mainland appears more like an explosion of rock lined with trees, and also a sanctuary for birds, small animals and a place of respite; perfect for someone like me.

My canoe and necessary food, along with equipment is an easy fifteen minute journey. As twilight shades forward, I draw strength from an ancient song.

Each evening, wind descends with an eerie whistle; a restless spirit, yet soothing. Pine needles toss about my campsite.

Overhead is a movement of wings; likely an owl seeking a more comfortable perch. Branches groan quietly as its feathery weight settles in the security of a red pine.

I am privileged to witness the majesty of this whispering earth.

Nighttime cloaks as a blanket, sun’s flickering glow signals daytime’s farewell. A hint of red is my goodnight kiss; trees picturesque as statuettes highlight the shore.

Waves stir a soothing upon my spirit, movement creating crests of silver from a full-moon sky.

There is trembling in the air when every sound is halted. A familiar call interrupts the chilly night air. “AAH-OOH-AAH-OOH-AAH” releases from a loon.

His song claims the island as his own, each chord a hurrying step under a starry night.

Trees tremble. Limbs crackle and I feel a rebirth from this nighttime energy. It’s definitely life in a different world.

Fireflies flicker in patterns, producing an atmosphere of friendliness. Clouds linger in lazy swirls; a path of white created by the moon.

Its flashlight beam provides a direct link to my tent site. It joins together with lake, rock, trees and earth to create a chain of fellowship.

Stars shelter the island’s ‘potpourri’ of emotion. Their diamond-like sprinkling is a gift.

It seems to reach out from the ‘milky way’ to the very core of the island. The night rises and falls as each new wonder manifests itself.

Time is measured in the softness of the moss. Ferns sweep forward in one last leafy dance. Enlightenment creeps in from the east as a blanket of night slowly descends: rhythms of fur and feather slowly abated.

The appearance of morning sun signals sleep. A forest and many of its creatures obey. So did I several hours ago, as dreams carried on, and precious rest during uninterrupted sleep.

Awakened from a yoke-of-sun glow, I must soon return to the “hustle and bustle” of our plastic world.

2016 Richard L. Provencher

Richard enjoys writing poems; many of which have been published in Print and Online. He and his wife, Esther are also co-authors of stories and a print novel. They are "born again" Christians and very busy in their church, Abundant Life Victory International, in Bible Hill, Nova Scotia.

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