Some good friends who own a little cottage near Lac Vieux Desert invited us to spend last week with them there. It was a terrific week. The weather was wonderful as we were blessed with warm sunny days. We shared laughs around evening campfires; we even toasted a few marshmallows. Twice, before retiring for the night, when the fire burned down low, we walked down to the nearby boat landing to gaze up at the stars and even saw a couple of them “falling” in a brief streak of brilliant white light. Fishing was productive enough to enjoy a delicious fish fry and still have a meal’s worth to bring home – and the big one did not get away! We paddled kayaks and enjoyed the sunsets. We even spent a day exploring the beauty of Bayfield, hiked to waterfalls and looked out the Apostle Islands – vowing to return together for a longer visit.
The week was a good reminder of how important it is to slow down and spend carefree time with people you love. These are the kind of investments that store up riches of happy memories and contentment.
The last morning, I got up early and walked for a couple of miles down to the short path from West Shore Road that leads to the headwaters of the Wisconsin River. From here this river will course its way for over 400 miles southward, supplying power, transportation and recreation, and along the way, it will become a mighty river. At this point it’s only about 15 feet wide and not much more than ankle deep where it slips out of the southwest corner of the big lake.
I sat down on a bench to watch the sun climb. Just free of the horizon, the sun’s light reflected across the lake to me, providing a sparkling pathway across the waters. Your spirit can walk such a path and explore the wonders of imagination. I allowed mine to “go ahead”.
Soon eagles began their high-pitched chirping call to each other. I watched one pitch, change directions and then swoop down to grab a fish that was large enough that I could easily see it clutched in the bird’s talons. Others spiraled upward and upward, climbing as if to Heaven on the rising thermals; their piercing screams were songs of morning praise that rose even higher than they.
I went down to the river again, slipped off my Keens and stepped in. I remembered wading in this very spot as a youngster of 11 or so when I camped here as a boy with my parents. I glanced over my shoulder and there on the bench once more sat my Dad and Mom, watching me, smiling. I smiled back. The water felt fresh, and the cool mud squished between my toes.
I waded back to shore, grabbed my sandals and sat on the bench so I could pull them back on. Just me again, in this morning. You can go back again, but only to visit; you cannot stay.