Lake Meditations

“Perhaps the truth depends on a walk around a lake,” wrote the poet Wallace Stevens.

I was thinking about that quote and other matters of all things lakes in my life as I walked around a mountain lake on a cold and bright morning. My distance totaled almost five miles. When I completed my walk I sat down at a picnic table some 30 feet away from the lake and wrote up these meditations.

I believe if anyone, including my detractors, who wanted to really know the truth about me should: take a five-mile walk around a lake with me and engage in conversation and observation. I believe it would result in a truth-revealing outcome. No texts, no emails, no written words, just a walk around a lake and listening and asking questions and mulling over a person in person.

One of my favorite lines in rock and roll (RIP) is from “Watching the Detectives” by Elvis Costello and the Attractions. “She’s filing her nails while they’re dragging the lake.”

I had forgotten that distinct lapping-the-shore sound the wind whipping up a lake produces. I like it. I realize it had been decades since I last heard it.

I learned from a sign that sockeye salmon used to rear in this lake, only one of two lakes in Oregon with that distinction. Sixty years ago dams murdered that unique distinction. But watershed restoration efforts undertaken a decade ago are bringing it back.

A walk around an unnatural lake (reservoir) caused by a dam is an artificial experience in nature. Finding the truth during such a walk there might prove elusive because the place is a lie.

I saw three chipmunks and three geese on my walk. I saw campers cooking breakfast on campfires and smelled bacon and eggs.

I saw a tan lab fetching sticks from the lake. I could watch that kind of doggedness and unbridled joy for hours.

Veronica Lake is my favorite female name of all time.

The legend of Lady of the Lake is one of the most powerful stories in Western culture. There is just something so alluring about a mysterious woman residing in a lake, (and holding a sword). She wields vital secret knowledge to help the beleaguered race of humankind. She will rise from the lake when we need her the most.

Lake thoughts versus river thoughts versus creek thought versus estuary thought versus ocean thoughts. All so supremely different.

I saw a family with a couple of kids who turned back from a walk around the lake after a hundred yards. The kids didn’t want to go on. I thought: can a forced march end up being good parenting?

I remembered a weekend at Shasta Lake on a houseboat with a woman I loved. She didn’t live long enough to see me get the writing going but she always told me it would one day. Her name was Janet.

Ahhhh the Dexter Lake Club from Animal House. Is it still there?