July 13, 2011

Loon Island

What do you say to an island? 

Hello.
Hello, there. 
I came to say...
Yes?
Just hello, I guess.
Hello.
And what is it like and how does it feel and what are the sounds and smells and tastes of being here so always, so all-year-everyday, so long?
It is like...
Yes?
This.

When I canoe across the wide water, when I slide into the bay, along its shore, I pay attention. I notice muskrats and blackbirds, fish flopping, and wind. I think about its name--Loon--and its location--south--and I wonder at the way it was when those northern birds were here enough to leave their name. How much changes on an island like this? No houses, no campers, no impervious surfaces. Just green and brown and blue and green and green and green and green. What is it like to be so set apart? To have children watch you every summer of their lives, curious and wise? And then for them to go away, sometimes for long stretches of time, only to come back older and quieter and less brave? Does the island pay attention, I wonder? Does it know my name?


Hello.
Hello, there. 
I came to say...
Yes?
Hello.
Hello.
And that I'm glad you're here, there, where you are in the middle of all this water and in the winter ice because you are so much of my memories, a relative's face, and I look for you in my mind when I am feeling lonely and you are always where I knew you'd be.
I am here.
Yes.
Right here.
An island.
Surrounded by you and us and me.

4 comments:

  1. Superbly lovely, Emily. "Just green and brown and blue and green and green and green and green." Together, the presence of your seeing and the musicality of your voice are divine.

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  2. Thanks for reading. :) And speaking of musicality, I believe there's a CD I need to purchase from you...

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  3. Lovely, Emily. Reminds me of recent kayaking in Alaska, moving so silently up the wild shore, greeting the place so recently emerged from the ice, so much older than we are. Your poem is full of a quiet humility and respect that feels just right.

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  4. Alaska is on the top of my list of places to visit for the very image you write of here. Canoeing, kayaking...there is something so peaceful about being on smooth water. Thanks so much for the comment!

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