Lakefront Easy

Lakefront at Chatfield State Park: Photo by Noelle

Lakefront at Chatfield State Park: Photo by Noelle

Exhausted from almost eleven straight days of work I headed off to Chatfield. The three-day weekend promised at the end of the work run was now upon me, but the vestiges of long days dragged at my heels. The lake seemed the perfect place to begin my unraveling and as hoped, on a Friday after school had started, it was comparatively empty. With the exception of a few people I had the entire lake walk to myself. My gratitude for this would be hard to express.

Lakefront path at Chatfield State Park: Photo by Noelle

Lakefront path at Chatfield State Park: Photo by Noelle

Lately, I have found being deeply present with others in my work, almost easier, but then my need for silence and less stimulation when I leave work has grown with it. I needed the trails to myself, which in an urban metropolis isn’t easy to find. I wonder at times if this is what all our country’s rage is about. All the easy frustration, road rage and disconnection. We all need more silence. More peace. Less bells and whistles. Less demands on our time and attention. We are overstimulated to the point of chronic irritation. I slowed my step to sync my mind with meditative awareness.

Flooding throughout the spring has left the trails still disrupted. Some areas remained washed out while others were littered with logs. The start of the hike was hot with little wind and I remained close to the shore. Millions of dead leaves, now mere carcasses of their former selves, covered the sand. Each a curious art form in their rotting down to skeletal state.

Sections of the wood were immersed in sand, clearly demonstrating how high the waters had come off the lake. In some places the beach and wood were now almost one. Huge trees had been ripped from their moorings and now laid humbled upon the beach. My feet sunk down as I walked among the trunks listening to the buzz of cicadas. This is their last hurrah. Fall will nip our heels sooner than the dead heat would ever give away.

As I walk I must weave in and out of the woods or traverse huge mud flats and shallow inlets trying to find the original path or one now made up. Walkways have washed out from all the lake flooding and I slug through in sandals, delighted to be wet. There was a time when I would dress in such tight gear to not be touched by the elements or get too dirty. I laugh just to write this, as the thought of not allowing my feet to get wet seems insane to me now. I walk in hiking sandals that have plenty of holes for water to rush in and I donned them just so. I stand in a stream and let it cleanse me of hours of busyness and demand.
I see how the small ways in which I blocked myself off have been eroded and washed away like these flooded inlets. I am permeable, I am porous, I am wearing away my former self as the wind bleaches the exposed roots of these lakeside trees.

Lake trail at Chatfield State Park: Photo by Noelle

Lake trail at Chatfield State Park: Photo by Noelle

10 thoughts on “Lakefront Easy

  1. Super photos that fit the mood of the blog as I could feel the easing of tension as it went onward. I like the part about getting your feet wet. Sandals are wonderful for feeling the grasses and also the blunt twigs that make you wince… all works sometimes in keeping your attention and focus.

  2. I get it, as a fellow recluse. =) And there is actually a scientific reason your embracing the porous relationship with nature is so good for your health. Something I’ve been meaning to post for over a year now.

    • I have been reading about Georgia O’Keefe of late and I find an enormous kinship with her and her deserts. There is a photograph of her in New Mexico, dressed in black on a red stone butte. She doesn’t look like a lone figure to me. She looks like part of this dense, rich, landscape that is fuller than the word desert could possibly imply. Write that piece you have been pondering for a year. Now that you have mentioned it I feel a hunger to read it.

  3. I agree that the modern world overstimulates people to chronic irritation. While I never thought about buying hiking sandals with holes to let in water, I did step outside with my daughter’s dog just this morning in my flip-flops, letting the tall grass in the backyard brush against my ankles before my husband goes out to mow it later! Too much focus on work and chores, not enough quiet moments to relax in nature, it’s no wonder everyone feels stressed out. I like your image of washing away all the small barriers and blockages that are no longer needed!

    • Dew-covered grass. Perfect to begin your day with. I have been thinking this might be a wonderful way to start each day. Just a few minutes in bare feet standing in wet grass. Doesn’t that drop your heart rate just to think about it? Yes, I think we are most definitely over stimulated or conversely dulled by cement, concrete, walls, fluorescent lighting, air conditioning and so forth. We are out of touch with our own, quiet nature.

  4. ” we all need more silence ” …my heart beats with you dear ( deer) Noelle …the woods always mystical as your beautiful photos express in such a quiet manner ….so lovely you are … love , megxxx

    • I think artists have a deep connection, not only to nature, but a need for silence to create. We need the outer world’s distractions to be dampened so that our inner muse can sing. I have a feeling you, of all people, know what I mean.

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