by Irma Haggerty
Winter’s chill past, the lakeside dwellings
belong again to me. Quietly as deep water currents,
I kayak by them, share their space and reflect.
Behind a thicket, I have heard harsh sounds,
discordant engine-driven cuts delivering lumber
measured to fit precut logs, a rustic build,
its russet roof shingles finally showing
above the thinnest limbs of trees;
and often paddled by a tidy bungalow,
its splitting cedar shakes and Adirondack chairs,
gray as spit curls pinned by the aproned woman
sometimes sweeping splintered deck boards;
sometimes standing still as the watchful heron,
marking the brightening morning,
its slow pace and peaceful progression;
or docked at an untrimmed, walnut-stained house
settled within land shadows waiting to be razed (where
a permanent home, they tell me, will soon be built),
its six years of memories staying
as toeholds for those to come.
Each visit I trace the evolving perimeter, watch
lovingly over all the cottages as the shallows
become dense with water lilies,
their blossoms splaying under the platinum sun,
knowing that as the earth tips away,
ice will quiet overlapping wavelets that tease
rooted growth framing the pond,
and smoke will rise through cold chimneys
mingling with winter’s returning chill.
Then, and only then, will I surrender
all the seasonal rentals.