Monday, September 14, 2015


I planned to go to yoga tonight, though I saw on the schedule someone was subbing for one of my favorite teachers...then the sun and the breeze and the temperature enticed me outside. I quickly shifted gears, packed up the leftovers from the food I made yesterday and headed to Medicine Lake.

The first time I walked around this lake was during a low point in my life - I think in a February. Snow covered the ground and though it was not a particularly cold winter day, it was probably in the 30's or 40's. I was taking a short walk to try and shake up something in myself, I guess it started to work because as I walked I asked, "I wonder if there is a path that goes all the way around the lake?" I kept walking. Then, "I wonder how far it is around the lake?" I kept walking. I only came across a person or two, "Maybe I should ask them how far it is?" I kept walking. It speaks to the sense of desperation I felt in my life that I didn't care, I just kept going. Or maybe it speaks to a lake called, "Medicine," that I have occasionally wondered about, but never taken the time to research until now.

Wikipedia says, "The name Medicine Lake is derived from the Dakota word Mdewakanton, meaning "Lake of the Spirit."


Not immediately, but soon enough I started walking around that lake one evening a week. I believe for at least a year or two I hardly missed a week - late winter to late fall. This year, on the other hand, I think it's my third walk around, and possibly my first alone.

It is a beautiful walk, but even beautiful things can turn ugly when they are done out of desperation or loneliness. Or maybe not turn ugly, but fail to live up to their potential. I often imagine the trees can hear my thoughts as I walk beneath them. A broken record of the endless cycles inhabiting my brain. I've enjoyed returning to that walk with fresh perspectives, new cycles weaving in my consciousness. I feel the trees take that in, or laugh at me, "Here she goes again."

Today I spoke to the trees about marriage. Years ago, I told a friend that if I got married I'd want a small/simple ceremony. Recently she asked me if I still felt that way, I kind of shrugged, I hadn't given it any thought. Today for whatever reason, as I began to walk, I did for the first time this year. I found my perspective hadn't changed. I also pondered the upcoming thanksgiving holiday with the trees - how that might look, what plans might be made. All of this was in the first hour of the walk.

The second hour, I think I quieted down, or at least whatever I thought about was quieter - maybe the flock of pelicans (do pelicans fly in V formation flocks?)overhead. Maybe the long hike my friend wants to take in 15 years (my hike today felt like plenty to me). Maybe the man who asked if he could list me as his emergency contact when he goes wilderness camping. Maybe being asked, "What did you mean?" to a line I wrote in a poem that no one has ever inquired about before.

Maybe - what in fact inspired someone besides me to call this lake, "Medicine". Maybe someone like the creators of this.

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