rain on shadow lake
glistens roots, rocks, bark, black glove
on the wooden bridge
My friend has just had a liver transplant, a kind of rebirth, and I am here to help take care of him during his recovery. But I also need to take care of myself, and that means submersing in nature. I walk to a little lake tucked away among houses in this big city of Charlotte. At the entrance, a sign says "SHADOWLAKE." I look at the letters and see "SHAD" "OWL" "AKE." This is going to be interesting -- river fish stuck in a lake, a bird of the night and ake, which means "bright" in Japanese.
The lake is surrounded on two sides by houses, but there is a public picnic area on one side and a bridge that leads to a wooded path on another side. As I walk toward the bridge, I pass by a tall clump of goldenrod. It's raining lightly and I notice a number of elongated insects hanging underneath the sunny panicles, like women in bright embroidered kimonos sheltering from the rain.
As I cross the bridge I'm startled to see a crumpled, shiny black vinyl glove shed by a human hand, perhaps symbolic of my friend shedding his old liver.
On the far side of the bridge the path turns and runs through a wooded area, providing me with a little shelter from the rain and many delightful surprises.
A black root that looks like a turkey foot. Turkey, symbol of thanksgiving for a successful harvest, peaceful coexistence with friends and neighbors, and the renewal of family connections.
The rocks in this area are hard and black, perhaps from the transformation of lava into rock. But this one sports a wide white quartz stripe, yin and yang, harmonious coexistence of opposites.
A sycamore with an owl face staring back at me from the peeling bark. Owl is a symbol of wisdom, insight and foresight.
The Green Man, ancient symbol of rebirth and renewal.
A vine in the form of a snake, another symbol of rebirth, healing, rejuvenation.
A butterfly shaped scar on a tree trunk, and of course the butterfly is yet another symbol of rebirth and transformation.
A strange silvery green mat of moss on the floor of the woods is as close as I get to seeing a shad, but if it's there, it's the fish that fed the American founders, so it must be a symbol of nurturance. With these auspicious signs, I turn back to the house where my friend is welcoming his new liver to a renewed life together. May they both live long and prosper!