The Paw Paw River Journal
Good for your soul There is an old Persian saying, “The time you spend fishing is not taken off your life span.” I like that. I believe what it really means is when you do whatever relaxes you, refreshes you, renews you, and gives you a chance to “tune up your system,”… it makes you younger and a little more healthy. When I was an early teenager I went out one day with my dad to pick ferns. There was a certain kind that would dry and stay fresh looking for months. He used them in making floral arrangements at his greenhouses. Now I didn’t actually pick the ferns because he only wanted certain kinds. We went out to Duck Lake north of Hartford. Borrowing a boat there from some people we knew, I rowed him across the lake to his favorite fern hunting grounds. He asked me to pick him up at the same spot in about an hour. Meanwhile, I could just go exploring. So I rowed around and found a nice spot where I could just sit in the sunshine. I watched the turtles poke up their heads to look at the intruder. Water lilies were in bloom. I sat and thought… surprised how quickly an hour passed. When I picked him up he had a stack of beautiful ferns. He never asked me how I spent that time. I think he knew. I have had the same quiet joy roaming autumn fields ostensibly hunting the wily pheasant. I never expected to shoot anything. That gun was just a prop. Red and gold trees aglow with color… among them, squirrels irritated by an unwelcome visitor watched bright-eyed around the trunk of a tree and chattered. One time when I was small my dad asked me if I knew how to attract a squirrel. I said, “No I don’t.” He said, “Just make a noise like a nut!” Well, I had to think about that one. There are a couple of other places that gave me the same quiet pleasure. One is in Florida. Off the Gulf Coast at Fort Myers are two islands, Sanibel and Captivia. That second one is so named because it is supposed to be the place that pirates (back in the day) held captive the beautiful women they kidnapped and held for ransom. I don’t know if that’s true, but I do know it has always been a favorite spot with us. There is a small cemetery just off the beach… quiet and shaded. It was started by one of the first pioneers. They had no cemetery, and when a small girl child in that family died, the father bought the land for her final resting place. I can go there just in my mind. It is a quiet afternoon and I sit on one of the benches and contemplate eternity. Over a small rise, quiet waves lap the shore, rolling in the shells of sea creatures long gone now. On the shore side a grave marked by crossed oar blades. A sailor is buried there, his body washed up from the deeps. No identification. Just a lost seaman forever resting now in one of the best places I can think of. Two baby twin girls, Alma and Talma, died shortly after birth. There they are forever. Some unusual monuments… one has an inset window. Beneath the glass a rare shell probably found by the person buried there. Unusual verses, most interesting. The cemetery is all sand and kept raked clean of leaves by some local volunteer. Just so I could sit there and contemplate eternity. I go there many times in my mind. Another place (you probably guessed it) a village out in Pennsylvania. The house owned by our Aunt Hope in the little town of Jamison City. It’s a good map you’re looking at if it has that small community. It lies in a valley between two mountain ranges… one in front and one in back. Across the road just beyond the trees a little stream meanders down toward Benton and Bloomsburg. There are actually trout in that stream, and it is icy cold tumbling right down from the mountains. The first time we visited her in 1953, we sat on her front screened porch and watched the moon rise over the mountains in front. Now over 50 years later the trees have grown so much we could not see the moon until it was up a ways. Aunt Hope said she would like at the end of her life just to lie on the couch out there and watch the moon come up. Actually she died in a retirement home. But who knows… perhaps she was on that porch. We spent so many evenings there, with her, and we treasure every one. Sometimes people don’t understand how marvelous it is just to spend some quiet time in nature. Our physical therapist told us a story about such a misunderstanding. A friend of hers, visiting people who lived on a lake, had that happen. She took one of their boats out for some quiet time on the water. Of course the boat was full of fishing equipment. As the friend sat enjoying the tranquility, a DNR boat came roaring up and stopped beside her. The government guy said, “May I see your fishing license?” The girl said, “I’m not fishing, and I don’t have a license. I’m just sitting here enjoying the view!” The DNR guy said, “You have all the equipment, so I can assume you are fishing; and I’ll have to give you a citation!” She said, “Do that and I will accuse you of attempting to rape me!” “But… but… but I haven’t even touched you!” “No,” she said, “but you have all the equipment!!!!!” And that’s the story on that! Here’s to more time contemplating nature and renewing our spirits, all part of the tapestry of life in these storybook towns along the Paw Paw River.
Watervliet District Library News September is Banned Books Awareness Month and Library Card Sign-Up Month. Teen Table Projects: September Do-it-yourself Distraction Jar; pick out an activity and avoid whatever you like! Barn Quilts: Sep. 13, 6 – 8 p.m. Boards are 2 ft. x 2 ft. All materials are provided; painted boards are weatherized and framed, available for pick-up 2 – 3 weeks later at the library. Cost is $35/person, sign up is required. In Stitches Knitting Group Friday, Sep. 14 from 2:30 to 4:00 p.m.; limited supplies are available for beginners! Third Monday Book Club: Sep. 17, 7 – 8 p.m. Great books, fabulous conversations! Ask for a copy at the desk: The Recipe Box by Viola Shipman. 3-D Printing: Sep. 20, 6:30 p.m. Philip Coulson presents an informal program featuring his printer, creations and expertise with this exciting technology. Bring your questions & curiosity and discover how it’s done! at the library. Yoga Monday 9 – 10 a.m., Wednesday 7 – 8 p.m., Chair Yoga Wednesday 6 – 6:30 p.m. Call 463-6382 for questions on any Watervliet library activity.
Coloma Library News Book Club The Coloma Library Book Club is meeting on Thursday, September 20 at 5:30 p.m. The title to read before the discussion is “Mrs. Poe” by Lynn Cullen. Generally, depending on demand there are titles available for check-out at the front desk. The book club regularly meets every other Thursday and is always looking for new members. Story Hour Story Hour meets on Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m. Join Miss Amy for a story, song and craft time. Story Hour is geared towards older toddlers and preschool-aged children. It is asked that all children be supervised by an adult. There is no sign-up for this free program. Call 468-3431 with questions on any Coloma library activity.