Friday, March 18, 2011

On Knife Lake


It's a poor scan, but here is the photograph Brian Lanker took of me after our canoeing odyssey in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in Minnesota's North Woods. We were there to visit the legendary Dorothy Molter, a former nurse who had spent 50 years living on the otherwise uninhabited lake islands near the Canadian border. This was in 1983. Looking at this image now, remembering when it was taken, I feel quietly blown away. It really was another life. And in 20 more years the days I am living now, the happy, heart-clutching organized chaos of getting my children launched, will seem like the poignant echo of another life as well.

11 comments:

  1. i think about this all the time. this life, that life, the one before me....
    i'm liking this glimpse into yours.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is a perfect piece of writing, a perfect paragraph. Beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
  3. a poignant echo...beautiful, Angella

    ReplyDelete
  4. Very lovely meditative imagery, photographic and written.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I love looking at all of us at ourselves that still reside inside if only we look deeply enough. That is the secret of women (and men) of a certain age. We the US never really age. Never. Beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
  6. ps. Knife Lake is so absolute. It couldn't be anything else.

    ReplyDelete
  7. another life, as you say. i love how at home you look here, so competent in this setting. it makes me curious about Dorothy Moulter. was there an article published from this adventure?

    ReplyDelete
  8. Handandspirit, we live so many lives in one. i always love seeing you here. i love that we can greet each other in this place.

    Elizabeth, thank you.

    Maggie May, thank you, too.

    A, thanks for coming by and commenting. I hope you come back and i look forward to getting to know you more.

    Rebecca, i had a writing teacher in college who said after 25 only the body ages. inside we are still who we understood ourselves to be at 25, no doubt why it can be so jarring to catch oneself in an untrained mirror. and of course you totally get the dimensions of Knife Lake. Of course you would. i love that you do.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Susan t., there was an article published in 1983 in Life magazine, now defunct. In it we photographed and profiled six modern American hermits. Knife Lake Dorothy was one of them. i looked for the original article online to link it, but didn't find it. But if you google her name or her moniker, you'll easily find information on her. She was in her 70s when we met her, and she would set up in a tent on her summer island during the warm months, and serve her famous root beer to any canoers who happened by. Then she'd move to her log cabin on her winter island before the freeze of the cold months, when all the lakes would be solid sheets of ice and no one could get in or out. She would be alone out there during those months and even the rangers who checked on her when the lakes were passable, would not be able to get to her. Which was how she liked it best.

    Interesting detail: Of the six hermits we profiled, four were born in early May (as I am). A fifth was not a hermit by choice. He lived on an inhospitable stretch of prairie as a child and stayed there long after everyone else moved away. He was all alone out there, and often lonely. The sixth was a scary character, and I won't speculate on him here. But the four May-born souls weren't lonely. They just felt free. It gave me insight into why it occurred to me to pitch this story in the first place. At the time, I was the same age give or take a year as each of the May-born hermits had been when they first moved to their respective wildernesses. Perhaps I was feeling a world too much with me, as they had. It is something I struggle with still!

    And now I have written an entire post in comments! I hope you'll see it.

    ReplyDelete
  10. of course i'll see it.
    running at the moment...but thank you so much. such food for thought. so much to chew on.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Every aspect of you is beauty.

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...