The Dandy Improvements at Little Sliammon Lake

For the record… just wanted to document all the dandy improvements to ‘my’ little paradise. Apparently I wasn’t the only one who thought this was a neat place to hang out. As of this summer it has an official looking sign and the following ammenities:

A darling little dock complete with canoe and ladder at the end so you can swim without contacting the muck and ‘goolies’ at the lakes edge. I tried it–fabulous and refreshing!

A grand picnic table with a roof– realistic for the typical weather here.
And last, but not least, a charming biffy made with on-site cedar shakes and better yet, a real oak toilet seat. Spiffy!
Oh, and the whole area has been replanted with little firs and cedars so that one day our progeny will enjoy the beauty of a new forest right up to the lake’s edge…

Making Preserves

I took one look at the afternoon–bright sunshine, blue sky– and threw obligation to the wind. Today was a day for preserving. Now preserves are not a whole lot different then JAM, but the term is certainly more descriptive. To preserve something is “to prepare it, as by canning, for future use.” And I could see just looking out my window that this was a day to preserve for some future rainy afternoon when the memory of summer has long grown dim and the sun is just a hazy memory.

So how does one preserve a day? Fruit is preserved by picking at its peak, adding sugar and cooking a bit before tucking in a sparkling clean jam jar. But a sunny afternoon? Well, I suppose everyone has their own recipe. Here’s how I preserved today’s offering:

[“Calypso” with John Denver would be the perfect audio touch to this segment]

2:10 I left the house with dog and backpack. In the backpack was a gummy fruit snack– for energy, a notebook–for notes of course, and a book-book, along with a little N.T., and a little water bottle. For ready access I also attached a little ‘fanny pack’ for my wee homemade sketchbook and my brand-new camera (thanks Jim!!). A bear whistle and a cougar knife completed my kit. And off we went by mountain bike in pursuit of the most important ingredient in my recipe– uninterrupted stillness.

We headed North which is where the wilderness commences when the pavement runs out. Within minutes we are on a short leg of dirt road leading to the forest, and then an ancient logging road. Rutted, rocky and rooted it dwindles away into the dark woods that have grown up over the years since this area was logged. A steady uphill grind takes us to the trailhead where we ditch the bike to keep an old rotting log company.

On foot we head up the needle blanketed spongy trail. Louie loves a good trail and reminds me of Fred Flintstone trying to take off running. His paws send all that’s underfoot flying as he warms up for take off! Giant maple leaves brighten the path as we wend our way over interlaced roots gradually upward through the dark fir and cedar wood. Bright shafts of October sun glint through the trees at intervals. Bits of blue sky are hinted at.
We’re underway. Our preserve making has begun…

For today I have my camera along to snap pictures of interest but the real preservation of the day comes with just taking it all in with as many senses as possible, being present and undistracted. No music, no talking–except with God (and Louie where absolutely necessary). My destination is Little Sliammon Lake–now christened “Shangri-la” by a little wooden signpost. But the process of getting there is half the delight…the mushrooms (toadstools?) along the way…the mystery of never knowing what you will find today…

And what did we find to preserve?
Stillness, silence, the gentle hush of trees ever so gently swaying in the light breeze… Ravens calling, a hawk’s piercing cries, a squirrel’s excited trilling in the distance… and more silence, stillness.

Never mind the helicopter passing overhead, the dog rambling about in the underbrush, the buzzing of a fly, the exotic hornet that lands on my notebook and takes off again…

The sunshine is soft and warm. Drowsiness overtakes me. Nice to have a dog standing sentinel. I give in to a cat nap in the sun tucked up against an old tree trunk, while my senses absorb the day and preserve it in my soul for safe-keeping, “for future use” when supplies of such things have run low.

“This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it!”

Lazing at Little Sliammon Lake…

Took a hike out to Little Sliammon Lake with a friend yesterday. She sent me these pictures with a note that Louie sure is photogenic…Hmmm, I had to wonder what implications that had for me, and maybe I shouldn’t include this other photo featuring me about to dip my feet in and fish for tadpoles…
This lake has seen some dandy improvements since I was last here with my camera. The logging in the area opened up road access which in turn made it easier to bring in a few tools so the local B.O.M.B. Squad (a group of volunteers that keeps our trails operational) came out and erected a great plank picnic table with sheltering roof, a cute biffy with cedar shakes from nearby trees and a beautiful oak toilet seat, and best of all, a little dock that lets you get out of the froggy muck at lake’s edge and dangle your feet in the calm warm water and feel the sun on your back…. One day I’ll come out for a swim–when I’m sure the tadpoles have graduated to froghood. Which reminds me, have you seen the whopping big tadpoles we have here? Their bellies are the size of a walnut and they’re on average at least 4 inches long. They’re huge. One can only hope they don’t eat toes!

But here I am sitting at the computer when I could be out feeling that sun on my face and having another lazy summer day. Must run!