Tag Archives: Moose Lake

Thin Places

What is a thin place?  I first heard about thin places in a sermon at my church. A quick look online and I realized the term has been adopted by all kinds of folks in the spiritual, travel and literary world to talk about special places where one feels closer to the divine, the universe, to creation. According to Eric Weiner a travel writer for the New York Times it is a place where the distance between heaven and earth collapses. Here are a couple of my thin places. This is a bridge in a park in Steinbach Manitoba where I lived for nearly four decades.  For many, many years I did a long morning walk and this bridge was included in my route.  It is here I would stop for a few minutes to think about the important people in my life and to say a prayer for each one of them. This is Tao Fong Shan the Lutheran Church we attended during the six years we lived in Hong Kong.  It was a peaceful lovely place and I so appreciated the liturgy of the Sunday evening services that settled my soul and prepared me for the week ahead.  For two years we lived nearby and early Sunday morning I would hike up to Tao Fong Shan which stood on the top of the Mountain of the Christ Wind. There was a beautiful underground crypt where I would go to pray.   During the year we lived in Arizona on the Hopi First Nation our family did lots of hiking but our favorite place to explore and climb was Coal Mine Canyon, a spot of breath-taking natural beauty not too far from our home.  Often we were the only people there.  We’d see so many colorful birds and watch legions of little brightly-hued lizards.  We’d shout out to each other just to hear the lovely echoes. The rock formations were stunning, the sky so blue, the sun so warm. It was a place to feel close to the people I loved and to the wonders of creation. And as I have written many times before our family’s cottage at Moose Lake has always been a place of beauty, peace, and solace for me.  I visit it annually and hope I can do so for the rest of my life. 

What are your thin places?  Are they places close to home or did you discover them on a trip?  Where does the distance between heaven and earth collapse for you?

Other posts……….

The View From the Church

Swimming in a Cenote

A Peaceful Mind and Heart

 

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My Annual Moose Lake Fix

Once a year at least I like to go out to Moose Lake, to the cottage my grandparents bought in the early 1960s. After spending many wonderful years at the cottage with my grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins my parents took ownership and worked hard to maintain the cottage for several decades. It was an important place in the lives of my sons. My sister and I spent time there every summer with our four boys and often a gang of their friends. Now my brother and his wife have poured love and time and resources into keeping it a beautiful place that remains a touchstone in my life. We visited last weekend. Not a single year has passed since I first went there at age seven that I have not been to the cottage. I have lived in twenty-one different homes but Moose Lake has been a constant place in my life.It was there I learned to recognize the call of the loon and the slap of a beaver’s tail. It’s where I saw deer and bear up close and sometimes a little too personal and watched an eagle teaching its young to fly. It was there I felt the sun set my browned body aglow as I skimmed the lake on skis. It’s where I had to pull slimy eels off my skin. It’s a place where I learned to appreciate the smoky smell of a wood fire stove on a cold morning and the odor of the kerosene lamp that lit up the table where my uncle taught me and my cousins to play gin rummy. It’s the place I learned what a smore was and where I ate my cereal on the dock as the sun rose.
It’s a place where I can always breathe and relax and just be. I am so grateful to my brother and sister-in-law who have kept this special place in our family and provide me with my annual Moose Lake fix.purple flowers
Other posts………

Where I’m From – Moose Lake

Lord You Have Come to the Lakeshore

Early Morning Walk At Moose Lake

Wildflowers- Moose Lake

Moose Lake

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The Boat Name Controversy

On our visit last week to my brother and sister-in-law’s cottage at Moose Lake we took my 89-year-old father out for a boat ride.  As we circumnavigated the lake in my brother’s sleek, spacious boat we recalled the other boats that had been at the cottage in years gone by.  When my grandparents owned the cottage in the 1960s we had an old yellow and white wooden boat called The Pepper.  It was named after my father’s youngest sister Nettie. Her family nickname was Pepper no doubt because of her lively, fun-loving personality that added plenty of spice to our family life.

My father and our older son fishing on the KenMark

During later decades when my parents owned the cottage my father purchased a more modern motorboat he called The KenMark.  It was named after my two brothers Ken and Mark.  I had not remembered any family controversy about The KenMark name but my siblings had vivid memories of it. Apparently my mother was not consulted about the boat’s name and when she saw it emblazoned on the hull she confronted my Dad.  

My mom at the cottage with our younger son

Why had he not named the boat the DoMaKa? My mother’s name was Dorothy, my sister is Kaaren and if you combined the first two initials of their names with the first two of mine MaryLou you would get DoMaKa.  I’m sure Mom’s response was partially humorous.  She was not really a confrontational person.  But it’s kind of neat to know that although the boat remained The KenMark throughout its decades of use at the cottage at one point my Mom stood up for the women in the family and suggested an alternative.  

My Mom with her only granddaughter on her last visit to Moose Lake in 2011

Other posts……..

Many Women Are Pastors But Our Language Still Excludes Them

The Vomens

What a Difference

 

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Early Morning Walk At Moose Lake


My grandparents bought a cottage at Moose Lake in 1960.  Later my parents owned it for many decades. Now my brother and his wife own it.  This week my siblings and I gathered there with our Dad and some of our partners to plan my father’s 90th birthday celebration this fall. 

  Other posts…….

Where I’m From – Moose Lake

At the Lake

Lord You Have Come To the Lakeshore

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Where I’m From – Moose Lake

Moose Lake- 1960-

moose lake cottage earliestI am from skinny- dipping in the dark, gin rummy games in the glow of the kerosene lamp and six cousins up on skis behind the boat

I am from horse flies and fire flies and dragon flies and mosquitoes and the wooden table with the secret drawer

I am from the time a mouse frightened Auntie Margaret in the outdoor biffy and she ran out screaming- her bum as bare as could be

dad and kaaren at cottageI am from swimming through seaweed, the lake itch, a salt- shaker for the eels, washing and drying dishes, building forts, planting pines, swamping the Pepper and catching frogs

moose lake manitobaI’m from charades, jig saw puzzles, Monopoly, the sand pile, the tire swing and my nose in a pile of Readers Digest condensed books and old National Geographics

I’m from collecting shells and driftwood at Lake of the Woods, walking to the store for ice-cream and the stranded buck we guided to shore by the antlers

moose lake cottageI am from Segne Vater, Komm Herr Jesu, Johnny Appleseed and God is Great before meals, church at the camp on Sunday morning, and the neighbor coming to ask Dad to get the fishhook out of his hand

I’m from coffee and cake at Auntie Selma’s– “walk backwards and sing if you see a bear”- from “swords into ploughshares”- “be happy”- “wear a life jacket” -­ “let’s go to the north end”– and “it will be better by the time you’re a grandma”

sunset on moose lakeI am from hot nights and canoeing down the path of the full moon, chocolate chip cookies, Dad making eggs to order with bacon, and roasted marshmallows 

I am from Grandpa dog paddling and telling us stories of his life as a prisoner and baker in the Russian army- trying to tip the boat in a bout of rebellion, loons calling, gartner snakes writhing, fish jumping and spotting the bald eagle’s nest

moose lake cottage Hanging on the wall was the cabin journal adorned with birch bark and berries- stories from a family haven- the one constant place in my life.

Other posts……..

Lord You Have Come To the Lakeshore

Wild Flower Inspiration- Moose Lake

My Nephew!  My Hero!

 

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A Moment To Remember

“But Mom you promised!”  One summer evening in 1992 when my sons were thirteen and six I arrived home much later than I’d expected from a meeting with a curriculum publisher in Pittsburgh.  I had told the boys we’d leave for a week at our family’s Moose Lake cottage as soon as I got back.  After my plane landed and I’d driven home we spent several hectic hours doing laundry, grocery shopping and packing up the car.  It was nearly 10 pm when we were finally ready.  

“Let’s go to bed and head out to the lake in the morning,” I said.  The boys insisted, “but Mom you promised we would go tonight. ”  

“Okay,” I agreed, “but you will have to keep me awake while I drive.”  My six year old took his responsibility seriously and chattered incessantly on the trip filling me in on everything that had happened at home during my five days in Pittsburgh. 

We arrived at the cottage around midnight and the boys suggested we sit on the dock for a bit before going to bed.  The air was soft and warm and the water absolutely still.  A full moon cast a pathway of dancing light on the lake. My younger son was on my lap and my thirteen year old leaned against my shoulder. 

We sat all still and quiet like that for about ten minutes and then my older son whispered, “Just listen to the silence Mom.” 

moose lake I am so thankful to my parents for maintaining a family cottage, a place where my sons could experience the wonder of the natural world…… the slap of a beaver’s tail, the brilliant color of a wild flower patch, the call of the loon, the stalwart beauty of a stand of birch, the graceful flight of a heron and………… the absolute quiet of a moonlit night.  

Other posts…….

Lord You Have Come to the Lakeshore

Two Trees

Once in a Blue Moon

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54 Years

moose lake manitobaA couple of weeks ago we spent two days at the Moose Lake cottage where four generations of my family have come each summer since 1961.  As I sat on the porch early in the morning basking in the familiarity and beauty of a view that has nourished and blessed me ever since I was seven years old I remembered yet again that although I have lived in nearly twenty different homes in my lifetime this has been the one constant in my life, a place I return each year. dave-marylou-moose-lakeSomeone told me recently their family had gone to spread her parents’ ashes on the lake where their family had owned a cottage for decades. I ‘get’ that. 

Other posts about Moose Lake…..

Where I’m From- Moose Lake

Lord You Have Come to the Lakeshore

My Nephew- My Hero

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Wild Flowers Inspiration- Moose Lake

I counted more than a dozen kinds of wild flowers on the yard of our family cottage at Moose Lake. I’ve been going to that cottage since I was seven years old.But until I wandered the yard with my camera last weekend I had always taken the variety and loveliness of the wild flowers there for granted. Why hadn’t I appreciated all that beauty right under my nose every summer for more than fifty years?Earth laughs in flowers-  Ralph Waldo Emerson

To see the world in a grain of sand,

And heaven in a wild flower

Hold infinity in the palm of your hand

And eternity in an hour.   –  William Blakewild flowers moose lake

I owe becoming a painter to flowers.  – Monet

Bread feeds the body.  Flowers feed the soul.  – the Koran

Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.-Luke 12:27

Are days are few and brief, like grass, like flowers.  – Psalm 103:15

Other posts about flowers…….

The Flowers of Jamaica

The Language of Flowers

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Eagle Inspiration

eagle at moose lakeI just spent a couple days at my brother and sister-in-law’s cottage at Moose Lake, a cottage which has been in our family for three generations. Taking the boat to the north end of the lake to search for the bald eagles that nest there, has been a ritual during cottage visits since my childhood.   I took these photos on Friday. 

eagle moose lake manitobaFour things I do not understand….. the way of the eagle in the sky, the way of a snake on a rock, the way of a ship on the high seas and the way of a man with a woman-  Proverbs 30

eagle at mooselakeThe Eagle   by Alfred Lord Tennyson

He clasps the crag with crooked hands;
Close to the sun in lonely lands,
Ring’d with the azure world, he stands.

The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls;
He watches from his mountain walls,
And like a thunderbolt he falls.

bald eagle moose lakeWho satisfies your years with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagles. – Psalm 103:5

Other posts about nature….

Georgia O Keefe Inspired Me

Swimming with Manatees

A Christmas Day in Hell

Visualising God’s Creation Gifts in Sculpture

Why Did The Creator Make Mosquitoes?

 

 

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Where I’m From- Moose Lake

In June and July the T-4’s have been writing. The T-4’s are long-time friends I’ve been getting together with regularly since moving back to Manitoba. We all taught together in the past–hence the T in our name. Last month I introduced my friends to a poetry writing exercise I used to do with my high school students.  Using the poem Where I’m From by George Ella Lyon as inspiration, we wrote about  childhood memories and shared our reminiscings with each other. 

 

Our assignment for our recent rendezvous at the Gates restaurant was to use the memories we had recorded in June to create a poem of our own using the Where I’m From pattern. I think we were all a little surprised about how emotional an experience it was for us to write and then share our poems with one another. One friend had included meaningful photos of her family with her writing. One started with lovely descriptions of the areas of England where both sides of her family originated, while another chose to write about her memories of her daughter’s childhood and growing up years. We agreed we had all been blessed to come from families where we were given the gifts of traditions, faith, and a rich storehouse of memorable and positive experiences. 

I chose to write my poem about my family’s cottage at Moose Lake, a place of many happy memories during my childhood.  Here’s my poem. 

Moose Lake

I am from skinny- dipping in the dark, rummy games in the glow of the kerosene lamp and six cousins up on skis behind the boat

I am from horse flies and mosquitoes and the time a mouse frightened Auntie Margaret in the outdoor biffy – screaming she ran out with her pants down around her ankles

I am from swimming through seaweed, the lake itch, a salt- shaker for the eels, washing and drying dishes, building forts, planting pines, swamping the Pepper and catching frogs

 I’m from charades, jig saw puzzles, the sand pile, the tire swing and my nose in a $1 pile of books from Good Will–Elsie Dinsmore, Cherry Ames and Nancy Drew

I’m from collecting shells and driftwood at Lake of the Woods, walking to the store for ice-cream and the buck we guided to shore by the antlers

I am from Segne Vater, Johnny Appleseed and God is Great before meals, church at the camp on Sunday morning, and the neighbor coming to Dad to get the fishhook out of his hand

I’m from coffee and cake at Auntie Selma’s– “walk backwards and sing if you see a bear”- from “swords into ploughshares”- “be happy”- “wear a life jacket” and­– “it will be better by the time you’re a grandma”

I am from hot nights and canoeing down the path of the full moon, chocolate chip cookies, Dad making eggs to order and roasted marshmallows

 I am from Grandpa dog paddling and telling us stories of Russia round the fire- trying to tip the boat in a bout of rebellion, loons calling, fish jumping and spotting the bald eagle’s nest

 Hanging on the wall is the cabin journal adorned with birch bark and berries- stories from a family haven- the one constant place in my life.

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What Next Tubing!

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