A Week in the Wood and a Lake

I spent the week in one of my favorite places, along the shores of Lake Superior. I camped in the Temperance river, and fished, hiked, and took a bike ride. But the most telling moments of the week were reaching the summit of Eagle Mountain, and sitting on a rock next to the shoreline watching the sunrise every morning. I don’t know if I could better reach the peace of mind available to us all in these natural surroundings. I know today, hands on how difficult it may be on the psych and the body to return to the concrete of the cities.

A goal of mine has always been to hike up Eagle Mountain. I have heard it to be challenging and especially the last half a mile before you find the summit is quite rock laden, so as they say, wear your hiking boots. I think one of the spectacular pieces of the hike are watching the tops of the trees lower as you further yourself up the mountain. Soon the overlooks begin to occur and they are everywhere with a few steps any direction from the highest point. There is a plaque speaks to the history of the summit, and it was so refreshing to sit there for a minute or two and be grateful to the nature around me. I realize these are soft mountain hikes and there are potentially higher and more challenging ones down the road, God willing.

On my hikes I have begun carrying one small rock in each hand, weight enough to balance my stride when walking. I found a couple at the start of the hike and set them down next to me as I had some trail mix before my adventure back. Once I began I realized I had left them where I was sitting, so I picked up a couple more, as they still belonged to the nature around me. I was told of this idea by a friend years ago, and I have mentioned the practice before, but recently it has had a profound effect on my connection to the environment around me. The walk allows the rocks to maintained that balanced cadence that carries me home, and now they are on a shelf in my home, where I do hope to gather many sets over the next couple of decades. Hiking has become a passion with me that I struggled with for many years. I cannot suggest why it is more relaxing, just that it is compelling and has become freeing.

On Lake Superior I found a rock where I sat each morning and watched the sunrise and observed a different flow of waves hitting the shoreline each time. The first day the water was calm and the second pleasant waves graced the rocks and boulders around the shoreline. On the third day there were quite stunning waves, the sort that imagined there would be surfers somewhere on the lake today, assuredly wearing wet suits given the temperature of this lake.

The fourth brought a calm again, but the waves still indicated a new presence. On that day, the same rock, same time of morning, no one else on the shoreline, I felt tears come and I let them go. There are so many reasons in my life to have tears, and yet so often we don’t allow them to flow. We hold them back. On this morning, I let them go, and I sobbed, and I didn’t wipe the tears, I wanted the feel them on my cheeks, my skin, my body. The moment was truly cleansing and brought by my expressing a gratefulness for the serenity of the lake. I provided apologies, and hopes, and dreams, and a desire to remain present in my life. I thanked the water in a manner of speaking to God, and the moment felt incredibly peaceful. My coffee finished, I got in my packed vehicle and started out my return to the cities.

There is something rather unusual about my time alone lately, camping travels, bike rides, attending events. It feels good, and thus far it feels right. It helps to balance the pain. I am learning how to ‘be’ as a dear friend plead me to do in the early days of the dissolution of my marriage. I am learning how to be ok. But it does take time. I would like to believe I am there, I have arrived, and for the moments I experienced this week on the summit and near the lake, I am confident I met those goals.

I look forward to the next adventure ahead.


© Thom Amundsen 7/2021

Woman Is Wisdom

© Allen Parseghian Photography

For is it woman who might fly

if not his grasp

slipping

beyond her own swift

reckoning

is it man rude in permanence

would slender

such is elegance what

we might wish

could he release


© Thom Amundsen 7/2021

© Allen Parseghian Photography

I Remember Reading

If you think about someone,

they are a reflection of your life,

this person.

She compels you to imagine their well-being,

sweet her Grace of compassion

you discovered

glancing in her eyes.

~

I read a book about love,

two people so swept

by one another’s sensuality

that no one else could intercede

their own imagination.

~

I want to read a book about love,

two people swept

within one another’s passion

a world around and about oblivious

in their own mystique,

such is the life of two compassionate soul.

~

I knew a woman one year

she stole my heart

and anything near

may only remind me of

her eyes,

her elegance,

her genuine smile.

~

In a sundress one shimmery afternoon

she could steal the heart of many and all.


©️ Thom Amundsen 6/2021

Waking Silence

A loud cacophony of indecision

will break a silence

without vocal interference

some remedy lost

though it would recall.

Nostalgic moments

direct our psyche

when it is a time allowance

to imagine

some heartfelt memory

the sort that seem forever.

We seek the truth

yet we will fight the hurt.


©️ Thom Amundsen 6/2021

Grad Party Moments

After a year of Covid the grad parties have returned. There have been years past where I haven’t attended any of the celebrations of our senior graduates. Last year I made no excuses, we all stayed home. But there have been occasion where I took an all or nothing approach. This year has been different. Perhaps having retired from my school holds precedent. Today I felt tears at a party for the first time in nearly a decade.

For every teacher there is always that student and this afternoon I said a farewell to one of mine. She holds that special place in my heart. One particular display taunted everyone’s heartstrings. She had created, or perhaps mom or dad, a display of her class picture from 1st grade to graduation. My eyes well as I write these words. I think knowing she would be the last person I work with directly on this stage had a tremendous emotional impact on me today.

I looked at all the students and families that I was given the opportunity to spend my life with over the last two decades and I am only grateful. The celebration of a graduate is real and profound. In my own life I didn’t have that luxury when I left high school, so now as a teacher for most of my life I have discovered a certain respect for the life of the students that when I was a teenager I took for granted. To be the adult teacher that comes to celebrate their successes is rather humbling for me.

For all the teachers out there that this summer question whether or not it makes any difference for them to say goodbye to their students one last time as they leave the high school hallways, take a moment to give yourself a break. Though there were many times when you felt like you had no impact on their lives, it is clear they wouldn’t be where they are this summer without your love, compassion and guidance. But we didn’t do it alone we all did it together hand-in-hand because that’s what we cared about more than anything else – the success of our children, our students, our families, our community.

To be a teacher has been probably one of the rewarding gifts of my life and I am forever thankful for the opportunity. Seeing the smiles and celebration of my students this summer has been a highlight and offers assurance as I choose another chapter in my life. I only hope I can have as receptive an audience as I did the kids I worked with on stage throughout my career.

Graduates I wish you only the greatest success in all of your future endeavors and I will be right there to watch you achieve so much in your profound lives.

Thanks for letting me know you – celebrate!


©️ Thom Amundsen 6/2021

Wishing Dreams

A spirit guide might visit a passion

setting in stride life’s beauty is a ride.

Yet time does wait upon internal

remnants churning within my psyche.

While outside lives a life of pleasantry

agreeable acceptance and absolutes,

if only the traveling disdain subside.

Would then wishful dreams pass forward

an energy with love could line a reel.

May then we be happy with our fate.

May then lives a sigh for love too late.


©️ Thom Amundsen 6/2021

When a Picture Would Speak

A space just waits for you

wherever he might be his eyes

could speak to you

remember when we both knew

our lives would matter.

I wanted to have a forever

if only our imagination

would someway live our truths.

If any way could be enough

to speak to love

without all of the consuming concern.

I only want to see you there

a side table held our remember where.


©️ Thom Amundsen 6/2021

A Quiet Run

I took a jog recently,

you know the kind with all the right gear

and the temperature

seemed ready to suggest

this human being is part of the machine.

~

From inside my mind, decidedly

I picked a route far too familiar, that place, that region

where everyone wants to land

and no one takes the time to question why,

we just let ourselves step forward again.

~

It isn’t until later on a quiet side road

everything is familiar,

the aches in our joints,

the sweaty brow we cannot seem to hide,

we are all the same again inside.

~

Tonight I heard words that would suggest a different path,

one that appreciates my steps alone, my words, my world.


© Thom Amundsen 6/2021

Stories we remember

Though time may seem immediate

with passing turn hours, those minute

moments help define the way.

A certain glance, a look, a kiss

would thrill the heart of any man,

surely who might long refrain.

Setting where two people held kiss

an indiscretion speak sweet nostalgic

the world churning without a guess.

She stole his heart on that winter morning,

the angels, a week’s calendar breathing.


©️ Thom Amundsen 6/2021