Dawn is past, and the sun has broken free of the horizon as my wife and I pull into the Perry Monument parking lot. The sun is bright with high white cumulus clouds tumbling playfully across a rich blue sky. We are here this morning to meet Bob Harris and walk Graveyard Pond Trail to see a flower he has discovered growing there.
When he arrives, we begin our walk down the trail which runs alongside the Presque Isle Lagoons. Just a little way down the pathway, Bob stops to point out a large American Bittersweet growing there. It now is
covered mostly with orange berries, which will turn red later in the fall. The few red berries foretell the changing of seasons that is close at hand.
One of the facts of nature I have learned over the years is that each season has its own colors. We all know fall will bring the reds, golds, rusts and purples to the forests of Northwest Pennsylvania; however, to me, something else makes fall wonderful. Fall will bring with it the vivid blues and greens which I enjoy the most. In the early mornings of fall, the sun paints the landscape with a different palette. On this walk, I noticed three or four trees beginning to gain some color already.
As we get farther along, I notice a Map Turtlesoundlessly slide off a log at water’s edge and sink into the calm lagoon waters. This morning the path and lagoon waters lay quiet without the barest breath of breeze stirring. This is a place where peace dwells. The silence penetrates.
Just off the trail, a little farther down, I notice butterflies fluttering around a small patch of Woodland Sunflowers. This has been an unusual summer for butterflies on the park. Their populations seem to be down substantially. The Monarchs and their caterpillars are hard to find this year. On a different note, the bright yellow sunflowers on the park seem like they enjoy the hotter and dryer weather. It looks to me as if the moods of nature are woven on an enchanted loom which no human can control.
As we reach the end of Graveyard Pond Trail, theardent sun begins to shine over the tops of shoreline trees and into the lagoon area, igniting it and the surrounding shoreline with brilliant color. This vibrate morning light dresses the panorama in deep shades of blues and greens. The changing soft morning light offers a continual feast for our eyes. No place in nature ever remains the same, because light has no desire for repetition. Slowly, but without hesitation, time unfolds in the morning light.
Right at the very end of this trail sits an old swayback picnic table. Once in a while, I disappear to sit here and get down to serious writing. No radio, T.V, neighbors or other distractions can find me out here. A large garpike, a green heron and maybe even a stray deer or two might interrupt my time writing, but then again, they are all welcome to join me here. There is something special about being at this isolated retreat that opens my mind to a different way to look at and express what I see, hear and experience on the park.
While Bob and my wife are exploring the plant life, I am busy with my camera shooting at least 30 pictures of
the tranquil lagoon waters with their reflections of trees and clouds. The mirror-like dark blue waters reflect the feathery white clouds as they drift across the sky. The dark green of the shoreline trees echoes itself in the mirrored images found in the still water.
Bob points out a commotion in the marsh across the lagoons. Suddenly, an Osprey and two Great Blue Herons take flight. The herons fly down the lagoons and the Osprey exits to a large tree much deeper in the marsh. I find it a little remarkable that we can only really appreciate movement against the background of stillness. Another unusual factor about the approaching fall light that I notice this morning and each year at this time is that distance seems to love the color blue. The farther away the blue water is from my location the richer the blues appear.
After nearly 30 minutes, we begin our trek back to the cars. I am armed with glowing imagination about the lagoon pictures held within my camera. In my mind, the lagoons this morning have revealed a garden for angels.
On our trip back, I spot four tiny mushrooms hiding their heads in the bush along the path, and just 60 feet or so from the mushrooms, a cricket in or under a large raspberry bush sounds off to let me know he is there. Presque Isle is a continuous adventure for lovers of nature. No two visits to the park are ever the same.
Early mornings on Presque Isle can be a sanctuary of silence where you can discover the peace you never knew you were missing.
By the way, if you didn’t know, “la dolce vita” means the sweet life in Italian.
See you on the park!!
Answers to Fridays “Did Ya know”
- # 2— Toss it. – - FDA ruled all the claims are not true and that
stores should remove all from their shelves.
- True – - Perry ended the Battle of Lake Erie on the Niagara, but his original
flagship was the Lawrence.
- # 3 – - The Perry Monument is built on Crystal Point.
- The Presque Isle Lighthouse tower is 57 feet in height.
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