In addition to the beautiful lake front, our camp property contains a couple acres of woods. Ledgy, rocky woods, with lots of moss and ferns. And spiders and other creepy crawlies. For the two years that the camp has been mine, I've mostly focused on getting the building and water system in order. This summer, I decided it was time to look the other way.
I vaguely remembered being able to get to the mossy ledges and the boulders covered with ferns. I was also pretty sure there was a clearing with a clothes line around somewhere. So two days ago, armed with pruning snippers and a kinda deadly looking handsaw, I plunged into the woods on a quest to rediscover the landscape and wrench it back out of the webs of some of the biggest spiders known to humankind.
A few hours ago, I emerged victorious with a bruised knee and a muscle in my side that is not too happy with me, and covered with bites. I found the ledges and even the clothes line, and the bugs certainly found me, but I found more than I'd been looking for, too.
Someone had cleared here before me. I found traces of cut off tree trunks and old piles of brush. I knew who it had been -- my mother. It kind of gave me a chill. It is yet another example of how much I have taken over for her, mentally as well as physically, as Alzheimer's is slowly fading her away. It is such a tightrope -- honoring her memory here at camp, and yet trying to make it mine, too, while she is still alive and yet no longer able to live here. Most poignant was rediscovering some old seashells she had placed with such care among the boulders -- she had such a talent for that -- making two incongruous objects complement each other.
So I snipped away at the brush, whacked away the bugs, and thought about the past and the future. And then went back inside to nurse my aches and drink iced tea and turn on my neglected computer. Writing and clearing brush are a lot alike -- aside from hard, hard work, they make one delve into one's head and imagine a finished product that is ever changing and growing and will become part of the past as well.
The ferny boulder
One of my mother's shells