Since school started at the end of August I’ve finally been back to my favorite place here in my town, the lake. My daughter has zero period this year, so after I have dropped her off at school shortly before seven I head to the lake to be there just a few minutes after seven. At that time the lake usually is completely still and calm, there are only a few people, mainly dog walkers, joggers and bird watchers.
Often the fog hovers over the lake, turning it into a mystical place. Everything is subdued except for the birds’ sound – the quack of the ducks, the drumming of the woodpecker, the shrill call of the red winged blackbird and the exciting loud rattle of the Belted Kingfisher. I’ve seen Great Blue Herons fighting each other on a log out there in the lake, and the photos I took of them give the impression of a Japanese painting thanks to the fog. A Black-crowned Night-heron suddenly appears out of nowhere, flying over the lake. Most times I see them perching on a low lying branch or log, very still, waiting for a good catch. A few weeks ago I witnessed a Great Blue Heron hunting in the shallow waters in one of the numerous little bays and finally catching a crayfish.
Other days are grey which usually brings out more animals. One morning I was fortunate to observe six otters playing in the water and making their way to one of the islands in the middle of the lake. You know about my experience with the Great Horned Owls whom we discovered in a nest high up in a eucalyptus tree. I heard there is a bobcat roaming the grounds, but so far I’ve never seen him. And of course there are lots of deer at the wooded side of the lake.
Often I walk around the lake with my friend Jo. For us, the lake has become a synonym for a good time together where we share with each other what is really important to us, when we talk about our dreams and fears, about motherhood and our children. It's also the time when we can vent, be it about our husbands, our kids' schools or politics (not necessarily in that order) and simply know that the other exactly gets what we're trying to say. We also share our mutual love for nature. It has been Jo who taught me all the names of the native trees and plants, helped me to recognize the sound of the birds, explained the difference between all the juvenile herons at the lake. We have crawled through thorny bushes and underbrush to watch a bittern and become completely excited when we discover a California King Snake or a muskrat near the shore. We can stand forever to watch the herons and egrets.
But I also love to walk around the lake on my own. It usually takes at least two hours because I “stalk” the birds to capture just one good shot. I’m fascinated how the light looks on a leaf and need to take a picture. My camera is my best friend during these walks. However, these morning walks also give me a good opportunity to contemplate things that are important to me. Like my Etsy shop. This is the time when I think of new inventory and ponder about a new file system, so that it doesn't get too chaotic when tax time comes along. I think about posts I want to write either here or on my own blog. In my mind I design my garden and sometimes I simply dream - of places I want to travel to, goals I want to achieve.
It's a good place for me, the lake. A place to relax and refresh. Truly a place of my heart.
Do you have a place like this? Would you like to share?