Return to Sterling: Lakeside

So fellow travelers, if there is one lesson I have learned and taken to heart, it is this:

When my soul is restless, when something is amiss, when my body, mind and spirit are out of sync there is only one reliable remedy I can take.


I take a hike, or at the very least a good long walk, where I am likely to encounter more birds than humans.

This is not a remedy unique to me, as I know from reading the most excellent writing of other bloggers, many of whom I am blessed to also count as friends. In fact it is not uncommon for someone to write about an experience which happens in sync with one I have just had. The synchronous posts used to deter me from writing out of a self imposed concept that being authentic had to also be completely original. Gradually I realized this synchronicity was actually a hallmark of how connected many of us really are.

After all my standard salutation “fellow travelers,” is a reflection of my true belief that we are all on this journey together, whether we walk parallel or different paths. We all need joy, yearn to love and be loved, seek peace and want to be heard. Allowing myself to put my experience into words and images, even when they were similar to other posts was a conscious choice to acknowledge my experiences.  The more I do, the clearer my voice has become to me, because when I started this blog I had no idea how to write with “voice.”

Even before our school community faced the challenges of coping with a student suicide, I was struggling with a vague feeling of foreboding. Reading pieces from my creative friends told me I was not alone,  a reassuring and clear directive to listen to my restlessness and seek calm where I knew to find it best.

So it was I found myself on the trails at Sterling Nature Center.


The eerie sights and sounds at the heron rookery did nothing to calm my uneasiness.  As water, even in stormy weather, is my favorite centering element I decided to head for the Lake Trail. Along the way I watched an ermine dart along the opposite edge of a creek, too elusive for me to photograph clearly.  Some moments of joy are not meant to be held.


Ermine, hiding behind the logs on the far side of the creek.

I spotted salamander egg bubbles on  another creek’s surface, a sure sign of spring which fortified my resolve to face the single digit wind chills I knew were blowing in off the lake.


The rhythmic pulse of waves grew louder as I approached the shore. Signs of winter’s force blocked one trail, so I headed towards the beach. Weird ice formations in random spots decorated the shore like a mad artist’s sculpture garden.

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Flat, grey lighting made it difficult to capture the full impact of these images. At least the shoreline provided a colorful array of stones, rolling like gems being polished in a tumbler.


I sat for a while on a large fallen tree and let the waves wash through my mind. I sat, I am not sure for how long, feeling the waves shifting and rearranging my jumbled thoughts until I sensed my face had gone numb from the cold winds.

I stood and headed to the trail leading back up the hill, yet my feet trudged past the trail and kept going up the shoreline, climbing over more fallen trees, walking, walking, walking on tired legs until I reached this view


A sharp cry above me drew my attention to an osprey flying inland from the lake, pursued by several gulls intent on stealing the fish clutched in it’s talons. They were moving too fast for me have any chance of getting a focused shot; I made a conscious decision to watch rather than reach for my camera.

And suddenly there it was ~  I felt the jumble in my mind shift, like the tumblers of a complicated lock clicking into place.  In that decision to consciously be in the moment whatever it was I seeking settled in my heart.  I had no idea what it was, only that it was there and my spirit was calm.

Suddenly aware of being tired, hungry and quite cold, I headed for the trail leading back to my car, promising myself one stop on the way home


Comfort food from Rudy’s a Lake Ontario legend.

Walk gently on the path my friends and may adventure find you ready

Deborah H Rahalski


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