The Turning

She knew it was safe, now her feet chose a path leading far
from dark uncertainties, of boarded-up options into an oasis
of light, a clearing of both heart and mind, a dendrological dive
into oneness with nature, which tree was which, identifying
those whose leaves dropped with the chill and those
that remained, holding space in that jigsaw landscape;

Forays down to the wellhead were spongy with moss, layers
of leaf and needle underfoot, trickling underground streams
flowing beneath quasi-soil draped over granite boulders
and pooling into a still point where, aboveground, stood
a granite casing with crude wooden cover; deeper still, tethered
to the bale of a three-gallon pail, lay the object of desire, cool drink
or promise of a steaming kettle as the vessel was cast into depths
repeatedly until just the right toss dredged itself clear and icy cold;

Filling buckets for each hand to grasp before carefully replacing
the cover, hoisting the weight of water and heading uphill, back
to the moonglow arc of light softly radiating from the cabin, tinge
of woodsmoke in chill air, teapot gently rattling on iron grates,
home was harbor into which her boat slipped silently
and without complaint;

And part of her began to grasp the value in releasing, shedding
non-essentials, detritus to which one could become accustomed
as if plugging all the holes, those islands of free-ranging thought,
could confer security somehow, would grant serenity, tranquility
of mind first and finally; still, peace was innate when she was able
to handle the shake-down, that honest meeting, self to self, dark
to light and back again, the terror of un-being confronted,
a deer caught in crosshairs, vole surrendering to the fox;

And as the seasons turned like leaves in the wind, dancing,
spinning, settling; as ice and snow gave rise to muck and flow
and the lake groaned and shifted, turning impossibly heavy crust
over into crystal prisms glinting in the narrow shafts of sunlight;
as the waters opened up and the loons returned, echoing
their mournful cries into a deepening dawn and dusk, she, too
began to thaw and sense, as if the first time, creation awakening
in her bones, and her own heart likewise took flight and soared
like the great blue heron, circling freely in those endless cerulean skies.

Lake lies beyond the granite boulder you see in the distance.
Looking across the water where we could ski when the lake was frozen.

All photos taken many years ago on a cheap camera. Not nearly as good quality as the newer equipment, but these photos framed the memories. Aloha.
Β© Bela Johnson

26 thoughts on “The Turning

    1. Many thanks, Eliza! Trust that winter is enjoyable for you, so far. I do miss it, funny though that might sound to someone living in the subtropics. The fantasy of snow, the memories it conjures up, are all magical. But my bones just couldn’t take it anymore. And we lived so far off-road that it was hardship just to live. But oh, the memories! ❀

      1. There is something nice about a walk in crisp air or watching a silent snow fall. Though my bones today were telling me that they aren’t as immune to the cold as they used to be. πŸ˜‰ Sad, but true!

  1. Yes, I agree, superb evocations, dear Bela, and I came back for a second reading today, delighting in your art of picking just the right word to place within any given phrase or line; magisterial in the crafting thereof, so often. H ❀

    1. Thank you, dear man. Always so appreciated from a master such as yourself. Not joking.

      I’m just now getting to comments on this post. Trusting all is right with you in your world, Hariod. Many blessings and love, Bela ❀

      1. All is well here in Somereset, dear Bela, and the novella I was (as you know) working on has now turned into the first of an interrelated trilogy β€” currently I’m approaching the midway point of the second. It sounds rather ambitious for someone advanced in years as I am (and hence less able to focus mentally for prolonged periods as before), although somehow it feels less daunting than tackling a 100k+ word novel. In fact, I genuinely enjoy the writing process; trying to find that elusive perfect sentence in which everything sits just-so, has a lyrical magnetism to draw the reader along and which allies to that little bit of sparkle that you seem so readily and consistently able to conjure. I never get there, of course, yet even approaching the perimeter of that place enchants and gives sustenance to the overall effort. My brother is visiting your fair isle once again next month, undeterred by what briefly appeared to be an incoming nuclear missile on his previous visit. Much love, Hariod. ❀

      2. Hariod, I don’t know a better aspiration for any elder. If I am not productive until the day this body expires, what use, this life? I say kudos to you. And we all experience challenges along the way, regardless. All possess unique talents and gifts. I might have sparkle while another can wrap their mind around an undertaking such as yours, which I wouldn’t even attempt. My numerous hats tip to you, in turn. Enjoy! And warmest Aloha.

        Oh PS on another note, tell your brother if he’s up north near Hawi or even Waimea, I would love to meet up for a cuppa. I know you say he’s pretty reserved, but do extend my offer? I will email you my number at any rate!

  2. Beautiful, rich lines, Bela. Your imagery is always spell binding as I see through your eyes, (your pen). Truly enjoyed this and will be back to read again. (As always I’m behind here! πŸ˜‰ ) Love to you πŸ’•

    1. Mahalo, Betty. So glad you like it. Of course I’d write, regardless! 😜 But it’s sweet to receive feedback from writers I admire such as yourself. Be well, Betty. You’re not the only one behind on WP! It’s taken me a few days to catch up with comments just on my own post! Sometimes I think it would be easier to just disconnect, but I realize you all are part of a community I wish to continue cultivating. Aloha ❀

    1. Aww, Renee – thanks for appreciating my share! I have so many stories from that time. It was my chosen childhood, in a sense. I really grew up there in those woods and waters.

      Enjoy your week, dear one. ❀

  3. This post a breath of fresh air dear Bela.. One where you can walk in the simplicity of nature, letting go of worries, trusting that our Earth Mother has all in hand, sharing her wealth with those who appreciate her space and healing balm and medicines..
    Sometimes I ponder upon such a journey, I know if more found their way in the footsteps of your words, this world would be already turning and rising higher..

    Love and Well wishes Bela, for a beautiful Festive Season… ❀ ❀ ❀

    1. Yes, I like how you have restated this. And appreciate that you feel as though my words might help another. That is why I write, frankly πŸ˜‰ Sending you heartfelt love and appreciation for your Be-ing this holiday season and warmest wishes for the new year! ❀

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