Poems from my Archives. Originally Published 11/12/2011
I sat on the bank of Ladybird Lake and marveled at the things I saw. Couples in their rented canoes were meandering up and down in twos or more seemingly with no purpose in mind except to find peace and solitude of the quiet kind. The people were of various sizes and shapes and were made up of everything that it takes from friends to lovers, kids and their Dad, trying their best a good time to be had. Some even had a dog or two, sitting in the boat with a look on the dog’s face, the look that says, see me now, I’m with my family and they didn’t forget to include me in this trip on Ladybird Lake.
Further up is the Boating Club more serious about the things that they love. The scullers in small boats made for one, rowing hard and pushing themselves, trying to see if their time they can beat as they row till they can row no more, then only then do they give it up sure that tomorrow will bring better luck.
The doubles are also working hard, they row as a team doing their best to make progress down the Lake at the very best speed that they are able as they find the need to compete this time not against each other for as a team they must work together but instead that ever ticking clock is their target.
Then we get to the really big boats with eight people rowing keeping afloat, rowing in unison to the beat of the helmsman as he moves forward and back and steers the boat in a very straight track for any deviation in course will add time to this crew as they row down the Lake, their effort showing on their face as they push the oars into the water and bend their backs and their legs go straight with each dip of the oar into the Lake.
What’s that over there, a Heron I see fishing in the shallow water at the side of the Lake in an area in which he can wade and he stands there so patiently until something swims by and as quick as a flash in the blink of an eye he has plunged his long beak into the Lake and comes up with a fish and with years of long practice turns the fish until he is able to swallow the fish all in one piece. Then he resumes his pose maybe taking a step or two, waiting again for the next juicy morsel that may swim by his legs quick and flash he does it again.
There are a pair of beautiful white swans, so regal and majestic as they swim on by. They have made this Lake a home for a while and a nest they have built which to the untrained eye looks like a pile of deadwood and sticks, it looks like it will float away but the swans are experts in what they do and the nest remains year after year requiring a little patching or two in the Spring and then it is ready for them to resume raising their family and add a cygnet or two. Late in the summer, it is an awesome sight to see this family of swans together as they swim up and down looking for food as the parents are showing the young what to do in order to grow into big swans like themselves to eventually fly away from the nest until they are able to find, a mate of their own and a nest they will build and so it goes on year after year as Nature in all of her wonder is clear that life must go on in the way she has planned it to happen, day by day.
One of the beauties of Ladybird Lake is that no swimmers may take their place in the water for it is decreed, no swimming allowed even if you are able and if you are caught, the penalty will be a fine disproportionately high for daring to swim in Ladybird Lake. No boats with motors are allowed to spoil the peace and tranquility that can be found on the banks of this gem in the heart of the city some people say it’s a pity but others of those with nature in mind, those that enjoy the peace and tranquility have deemed that it must be so. For this we are grateful as we sit on the bank, keeping an eye on the beauty of LadyBird Lake.
© Francis Allcorn