All of us have some sort of spot or hideway that we remember or perhaps go to from time to time to settle our thoughts.It may be the heart of a big city or the main street of a small town. Wherever it is, the shades are lifted and one is welcome through its doors. I found such place in my younger years.
Its name is Euchiniko Lake and it rests in the mountains of British Columbia like a handsome jewel in a velvet case.The first thought that came to my mind when I first saw Euchiniko was how close her borders seemed to be. It appeared Euchiniko was a river rather than a lake. Perhaps because it stretched a good three miles and lay like dog's hind leg amongst the trees.
The most any stranger would say was "It was there"; and why not -- the deadfall stopped the horses from coming in and bade one go on foot to the shore of the lake. The dense underbrush grew right up toward the lake front and the water was murky in the spring and alive with driftwood. It was enough to discourage the hunters and fishermen but I came there and felt its pulse and penetrated its heart. I have seen the sky light up just before nightfall and loved it. I have watched the sun spread and thin each morning and evening. I feel the Lark's heart beat every time it sings. I know the gentle feeling that comes from watching a doe and her fawn gaze out across the lake. I sense the rythmn of Owl's wings and count each of its whoos as if they were only for my ears. I hear the creek flowing into it, gurgle and splash and as as I walk. I cling to the strong arm of a tree less I fall on the slippery slopes leading to the lake. I would like to share it but for now I will have to be selfish. I take it and nourish my civilized mind and it helps to reduce my swells of frustration over the undone and the disappointments. So for me, here the world seems to be in tune or at least I think it is. It is late spring and leaves are coming out and the wilderness gives off a freshenss that fills your senses and gives you a sense of satisfaction that is rare these days. The forests with their beaded hillsides show colors popping out of the green like a child in a field of uncut hay. Then there is the morning break of the birds singing. Such infinite sounds. The chicadee with its gentle cry or the wood thrush milking the pain of a man and reaching down into his very soul with sweetness. But to the Raven goes the wreath. There he chugalugs like a frog and there warbles almost on key. If that isn't enough, his throat scratches out the crow's course grained cry. His is the changing melody and the raspings trials of the beginner. Perhaps it is I who is the stranger here. I who walked under the cottonwoods and smelled the scent of pines in the wind. I know something of the forest, especially with the spread of its leaves. One leaf falls and then two, soon a whole chorus rocking slowly to earth. I have felt at times that the wilderness was endowed with the qualities of the Master Musician. No straining but melodiously growing and spreading its beauty. I found the lake came to life if one had the patience to stand quietly by its bed, especially in the early hours of the morning. Take the big rock cradled in the middle of the lake. Austere it was like a shrouded hearse and cold to the touch. The lake drew the sunshine and lapped and warmed the base of the rock. Warmed it so that the birds came and lay upon its head. Sometimes the morning was kind and the sky was clear blue and the darkness slipped away rather quickly. Now the deer walked down from their hiding places to the drink the cool water and watched curiously as a beaver gnawed and fell trees to the waters edge. The eagle flew high to watch it all and floated by in cocky assurance of his strong wings.
I would select a spot touched by the sun and lie there soaking up the rays. Then I would lazily
stare at the world before me and I could see Euchiniko lying at bay like a boat in a narrow inlet.
Sometimes if you got there early a veil of mist would lie just above the water and cast fingers of smoke out of the light that was coming in. It seems enough at those moments but they are soon gone and you are awakened from the dream of it all. Still, for awhile the world was in order and you felt it and if you could have hugged yourself you would have. It doesn't get much better than that.