Original posting date was July 22nd, 2006
My mind gets blurry around the edges sometimes; it’s like when you’re up early, (ick!) and down on the beach before the sun is really up, on those still mornings when it’s not quite foggy, but there’s just enough moisture to make the outlines of the boats, the trees and dock posts fuzzy.
I don’t like it much.
It interferes too much; it hurts too much. I look through things, as if they’re translucent instead of opaque, and they aren’t really there. Then I look closer, and they have gone solid again, which is a relief, but I realize that the shimmer is me; I’m the part of the picture that’s in soft-focus.
I want my focus back.
I’m walking along the path, and the trees are still and the heat is pounding into me, squinting against the glare and the halos around all the treetops between the sun and my eyes. It’s so still, no birds, the only sound the soft shuffly scrape of my shoes on the dirt of the path, on old leaves and the occasional root that crosses the path, seeking the toes of the unwary.
There, on the path ahead, is someone coming toward me. A couple of walkers, perhaps from the camp at the north end of the island, chatting quietly to each other, laughing. A nod as we pass, stepping slightly to the sides, avoiding the bush, making room for them. Wondering, as we continue in opposite directions, never knowing who the others are, nor they me, does it matter that we don’t know?
Three people, passing randomly on a pathway on an island in a lake, which is deep in the woods of Minnesota; and yet we have something in common, we three. For we’re all here, all drawn by something to this special, magical place. If not, if the affinity didn’t exist, we would never have encountered each other.
Yes, there are those who “don’t do the woods”, who can’t stand the sand, the insects, the inconvenience of not being able to get to a store, a coffee shop on a whim; but even those who are here for the first time, never to return- well, if they’re out and around, it’s something that has drawn them to do that. If the pull didn’t exist, they’d be curled up in their cabin, fanning themselves, counting the days until they can leave.
No, if you encounter them on the path, out in the woods, slapping the flies and mosquitos (or being carried away by them, some years, it’s Minnesota after all!)… No, if you see them there, then you can smile. Because although strangers, you are related.
Perhaps that’s why, even when my focus is fuzzy, I can hang onto something that tells me it can get better. Because there are so many things that are shared, and if I can get the dark fog to dissipate, I can see them again.