When Easter and photo safari day coincided this year, I knew exactly where to go— St Peter's Dome in the Penokee Hills. The 1600 foot red granite dome is the highest point in the Chequamegon National Forest and trust me, it's a challenging hike on snowy/icy paths. We kept reminding each other to think like mountain goats when we encountered a particularly slippery patch. I think it worked because we all walked off the trail in one piece.
What a change from Easter five or six years ago— the bunny has been unmasked, the kids sleep in until a civilized hour and they are game for a 4 mile hike instead of sorting their candy and blowing bubbles. While I enjoyed those early mornings looking for the Easter baskets, today was about as close to a perfect Easter Sunday as I could have imagined.
While it was not all wine and roses on our hike and there were plenty of comments about the cold, wind, ice and a slow-moving Mother with a camera, we all experienced moments of wonder. Wonder at the wind howling at the top of St. Peter's Dome, at lush green moss on a tree trunk, at the feeling of walking under very, very old trees or at the perfection that is the heart of any untouched forest.
Of course, I had to include a couple of pictures of George— he is just so terribly handsome.
The water was beginning to flow, it's a sight and sound I never tire of. I can only imagine the roar of rushing water during the spring thaw— there's a lot of snow on the ground.
Even under the deepest blanket of snow, green things are awakening. The early risers are such a contrast to the whites, browns and evergreens I've been surrounded by all winter.
As I was walking along, I wished I had the right words to describe what I was seeing and feeling. We got to the top and I saw Jack looking a piece of paper attached to a tree. There they were, the words I was searching for, in a poem by Marvin Bell. Places like St. Peter's Dome, the Apostle Islands or the Penokee Hills are lifelines in a noisy and too human world.
Around Us Marvin Bell
We need some pines to assuage the darkness when it blankets the mind, we need a silvery stream that banks as smoothly as a plane’s wing, and a worn bed of needles to pad the rumble that fills the mind, and a blur or two of a wild thing that sees and is not seen. We need these things between appointments, after work, and, if we keep them, then someone someday, lying down after a walk and supper, with the fire hole wet down, the whole night sky set at a particular time, without numbers or hours, will cause a little sound of thanks–a zipper or a snap– to close round the moment and the thought of whatever good we did.