One autumn morning in the USA, at Crescent Lake in the Superior National Forest in Minnesota, just west of Lake Superior, I looked out of our small tent to a stunning morning and a mirror smooth lake with superb reflections. As usual, we started off with a mug of tea, and, for me, a chocolate biscuit as well. After breakfast we took off in the canoe on water that was without even the hint of a ripple. The sky was mostly high, thin overcast, with occasional patches of thin sun. We floated out across the water, just gasping at the clarity of the reflections.
At that time the day was one of sharp clarity and frosty brittleness. Gradually, though, the day changed, losing its sharpness and clarity. We found that the lake was greatly indented and had many islands, which now seemed to float on the water, as reflections, with a mysterious, ‘not of this world’ look to them.
As the day progressed it became one of dreamy warmth exuding golden peace and eternity. It enveloped us and took us out of this world. Once again, we were experiencing a time when the day itself and our physical surroundings had somehow become part of another world; a world of timelessness and eternity. It was as if we were outside this world, living in a dream of eternity, with sky, water, clouds and reflections becoming one to create an ethereal world, outside of time, through which we floated, enveloped in warmth, stillness and peace.
We landed on one of the islands for morning tea and just sat there, enthralled by the feeling of wilderness, the stillness, the warmth and the extraordinary beauty of the place. After drinking our fill of this enchanted spot, we paddled away across to the other horn of the Crescent. The lake was still without a ripple, and out there, in the middle, away from the land, we seemed to be part of the sky, now all bright shades of grey and shining white with occasionally some pale, high, far away blue. The lake picked all this up and shone.
We paddled slowly on. Being so low in the water, it seemed as if the water and sky were one and we were upside down, floating on the sky. Sky and water had merged, become one and the day held us in its golden warmth, a land filled with eternity.
It was a dream world. Slowly we drifted on, seemingly unattached to the world; more a part of the clouds and the light. It is hard to believe that any day could be so still and so quiet, so golden and filled with light. The golden hills came down to the water, their dreamy reflections turning the water to liquid gold. We drifted on, and came across some wonderful, small islets which to me epitomized this northern land of lakes and forests: age-old, grey rocks covered in lichens, black where they met the water, and gnarled, twisted, stunted trees, reflecting the age and harshness of this ancient land, perfectly reflected in the water. One of these islets, in perfect, mirrored duplicate had on it just one, stunted, craggy, gnarled old cedar. The scene, almost monochromatic against the shining clouds of sky and water and a backdrop of gold, seemed removed from time and place. The day was bewitched. On we went, the hillsides surrounding the lake were just magical; glowing yellow and gold, spilling over into liquid gold.
There is no doubt in my mind that autumn gives us a message about eternity and mellowness. It is a time of the year when eternity actually comes forth from a rich and dreaming earth and all of nature. It is a time when the world itself takes on the dreaming quality of the autumn skies and the days themselves become as golden as the leaves. It is a time when the world holds its breath and there is a sense of timelessness, eternity and peace. The question is, do we allow ourselves to become one with it? Are we prepared to nurture it and preserve it for what it is and what it gives us from itself?