Soundings by Julianne Lutz Warren

October 17–23, 2015

Shaver's Creek
Apr 21, 2016 · 30 min read
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Twin (Arrivals and Departures) Bridges: October 17, 2015

I arrived when the moon was thin, but waxing behind clouds. It was raining by afternoon, blustering with eight mile-per-hour gusts. Temperatures dropped from the forties into the thirties by nightfall. The calm heat of the Center felt great when I stepped in to meet Justin Raymond and Doug Wentzel around one pm. The two men kindly ventured out, guiding me across the parking lot, and then along a winding path to Twin Bridges.

The (Scary) Chestnut Plantation: October 18 and 22, 2015

Interlopers and ghosts notwithstanding, I happen to like being outside in the dark, mostly early morning dark, and in every kind of weather under every kind of moon. Before dawn of my last full day in Shaver’s creek, I took my usual five-mile run up a lane aptly named “Scare Pond Road” (though I never found the pond).

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Dark Cliffy (C-) Spot: October 18 and 22, 2015

I left the Chestnut Plantation by the Mountain View Trail, heading downhill to its intersection with the Wood’s Route for my self-introduction to Dark Cliffy Spot. Thanks to Justin’s great map-work, I found my way, on my second visit, via The Lake Trail — running right in front of my cozy, well-swept Cabin #1 — veering left onto Shaver’s Creek Trail, which headed me south to my destination.

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Interlude (Twin Bridges, again), October 19, 2015

Liminality.

The Saw (Perpetual) Mill, October 19 and 21, 2015

Tulip, maple, birch, beech…also oak and white pine, among others. A leaf fell behind my back. I quickly turned, wondering, for an instant, what animal I might glimpse. Here was an old hemlock cut, about twenty-two inches in diameter, and, of course, mossy. I sat again on a log, this log, though now with lunch already having filled my stomach. I looked around. It was as if a giant bagel had made a dense imprint on this very ground — a round center ringed by a trough.

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Interlude (Twin Bridges, again), October 19, 2015

I was returning to my cabin to read and write. To get there, I traveled southwest via the Sawmill Trail toward the Lake, back by fallen-leafed Twin Bridges. I passed just in time to hear a bolting woodchuck drum across the double-crossing’s swaying, wooden planks:

The Lake (Caution) Trail, October 21, 2015

Once I got into the swing of walking, it was hard for me to stop. I love walking. I also love not knowing what’s around the bend, curiosity leading me on. So, to stretch out from a two-hundred step circle to a three-mile loop, quite simply, felt bodily good. The excuse for the trail is the lake, but for a significant portion of the walk, the lake is not visible. Like cake behind glass, glimpsing the water’s glimmer out of reach through trees made it all the more alluring.

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The Bluebird (of Happiness) Meadow, October 21, 2015

Peeling off the Lake Trail, the Bluebird Trail led me to the Bluebird Meadow on this bluebird day. This hillside requires ongoing hard work to keep shrubs and trees at bay — particularly, that vigorous Asian contribution, Autumn Olive. Bluebirds like openness, but also nest holes. So, in lieu of old forest snags, industrious Eagle Scouts had built and erected, in 2002, quite a few nest boxes.

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The Raptor (Eye) Center, October 17, 19, and 22, 2015

During her three-month performance, “The Artist is Present,” Marina Abramović spent all day, every day sitting in a chair, exchanging looks with museum visitors seated across from her. Person-by-person, barely looking at any other part of each singular body, Abramović shared often extended, mutual gazes with a total of 1,565 pairs of eyes. Many times, people became emotional, weeping, during this intimate experience. Seeing themselves being seen in her tended to unleash participants’ vulnerability, Abramović explained. And, she felt herself revealed in the mirroring of others; they changed her, too. “I know them,” she said in a 2010 interview for MOMA’s Inside/Out — each sitter, “they’re like family.”

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Lake Perez (Reflections), October 21, 22, and 23

Dust from massive exploded stars — vast clouds of atoms of every sort — by gravity, collected into Earth — from its hot core to soil and water-covered bedrock to frozen poles, with the whole of life, reaching to the skies, energized with sunlight — including today’s maple and hemlock trees, club mosses, shiny red Autumn meadowhawks, blue-headed vireos, Carolina wrens, pied-billed grebes, and people, like me, who have enjoyed the surroundings of Lake Perez.

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Leavings, October 23

The shining moon had thickened from talon-curved to spotted egg-shaped over the course of my Shaver’s Creek week. My car was packed. I felt myself shiver, though there was only the slightest breeze and the temperature was ten above freezing. One last time, I slid my canoe off the grassy shore and into the water. I headed out, taking care to dip my paddle silently. What is it about darkness that desires peace and quiet?

Julianne Lutz Warren is author of Aldo Leopold’s Odyssey, an intellectual biography tracing the historical development of Leopold’s land health concept. Her other writings explore human orientations within Earth’s community of communities to discover what may be mutually life-enhancing. You can follow her on Twitter (Julianne Lutz Warren) or visit her website, CoyoteTrail.net.

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Shaver’s Creek

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