Sylvester came into my life Thanksgiving weekend while my brother and I were playing catch football outside. He was still a kitten, but determined to make his home were I lived. From the beginning, I could see that Sylvester didn’t know he was a cat because he believed in himself and that he could do anything that he set his mind to.
From “flying” from the back deck to the birch tree, wading in the steam alongside the property, “pointing” at pheasants in the brush, jumping to turn the light switch on or just climbing as high as he could go, he made certain that his message to me was clear – stand your ground, listen to your heart and follow your dreams.
The above video was a weekend project many years ago with friends as Sylvester was filmed doing somersaults, or the Slovak term, “koperdonitz” as Grandma Marge would call them. (Found on YouTube). After a weekend of filming, he decides that he isn’t interested in somersaulting anymore and lets me know it on the last clip! My first encounter with this acrobatic ability occurred as he somersaulted into his food dish one day! He brought much joy and laughter into my life and his message of believing in myself has resurfaced once again as a reminder to be true to my God-given gifts, talents and abilities and to somersault joyously through life!
“Rejoice in the Lord always. And again I say, rejoice!”
As a second annual event, the various creative individuals associated with Highland Lake collaborated for an Art and Music Walk with various locations around the lake. Brigid O’Neill LaGier’s gallery featured in this posting was one of the locations to display a variety of unique pieces.
Included in the above display were Brigid’s mixed fiber, watercolor and oil paintings; colorful painted gourds by Bill Mihalko; watercolors by Carolyn Gilligan; fabric wall hangings by Joanne Nolt and The Tofino/Loriginal Series featuring Tofino Photography https://www.tofinophotography.com/ and oil painting interpretations by Loriginal Designs, which also included acrylic wall hangings and art cards.
Also featured was information about my book entitled “My Father’s Greatest Gift: Life Lessons from a Black English Labrador Retriever” where Chert Dog enjoyed many summers cooling off at Highland Lake, as expressed in “Swimming, Boating and Walking with the Pack.” http://www.loridmarchell.com/
There also were musicians around the lake with various gatherings throughout the weekend and fabulous fireworks to celebrate Independence Day! A wonderful celebration of the arts and the importance of family, friends and our beloved animal companions sharing time together makes Highland Lake a welcoming location to so many!
Another gathering of friends, family, pets and musicians singing along on a picturesque afternoon on July 4th. Cheers to all the talented individuals who share their gifts of creativity with such passion, flare and joy!
“The transcendental state of Being lies beyond all seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, and tasting – beyond all thinking and beyond all feeling.”
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
There are sacred moments in time where all the senses are so attuned that you feel saturated in the love of the Universe! It is places like Highland Lake which have brought that sense of awareness in timelessness. Prior to having internet and cell service there, it seemed to magically bring you to a place of peacefulness, wonderment and awe as moments seemed to span lifetimes!
There is a glorious Willow Tree named “The Lady of the Lake” whose graceful limbs with lacey leaves reach towards the heavens! Her hour glass womanly figure-shaped trunk has weathered many a winter’s wind and basked in the summer’s vibrant glory! An earlier limb was used for children to swing out into the lake as they would splash cheerfully into the water! Through the years, she had to relinquish this part of herself to the past, full of memories of her lifetime!
On the pathway walking around Highland Lake there is a stoic moss covered tree known as “The Lord of the Forest” whose stately presence breathes embodiment to all of nature.
Further along the pathway around the lake, there is a section where the stream and pond flow out into the lake. Oftentimes you will see turtles and bullfrogs, together with dragonflies and you may even encounter a fairy or two!
As you continue along the pathway, the senses of sight, taste, smell, hearing, feeling and knowing are awakened in the freshness of the fragrant, soothing air. It is moments like this which span our awareness of time and we become one with all that is around us and within us. This bliss full state of consciousness allows for incredible insights as the mind drops into sacred heart-centered alignment and inner knowing. You may see a spiritual rainbow cone, or even an orb or two!
Peaceful mornings and throughout the day, the lake transforms her appearance into something new! There is much to be learned from her deep lesson of inner knowing.
Cloud formations pass throughout the day, bringing colorful rainbows, angelic wisps of glistening crystals, as the sunlight reflects brilliantly off the textured glassy water.
And so after a splendid sunset, the campfires begin to emerge surrounding the water’s edge. Oftentimes, the fireflies will gather around the sloping hills as the crickets and peepers and tree frogs begin their harmonic evening melodies which accompany the sparkling starts lighting up the gradually darkening vast evening sky.
Sunfish Sailboats sport around Highland Lake with moments of gusty winds and other peaceful doldrums. There is a gentleman who has configured a way to sail his rainbow colored sailboat around the lake using just the one arm that he has – remarkable the ingenuity of the power of invention, determination and necessity!
Then there is the early morning choir of birds singing, as the stillness of the morning air and water invigorates the soul. Timelessness revisited.
Various boating activities and music festivals as well as floatilla competition are just some of the many activities at Highland Lake. Not to mention the fireworks! They simply begin on the Fourth of July weekend and continue throughout the season!
And so our lives are to be lived to their fullest, richest, reaching for the stars, pressed down and flowing over! As my Mom would say, “Keep Joy in your life, Jesus wants it that way!” and as Grandma Marge would say, “Happy, Happy, Happy!!! Joy, Joy, Joy!!!”
“Rejoice in the Lord always! And again I say, rejoice!”
My extent of boating experiences has been sitting in the
middle of the canoe as we take our time circling around the small
lake. I have also sat on the back of the two-seated paddle-boat, but
find this not quite as comfortable. Even though I have not gone out
on the small sailboat, I have been on the front of the one-man yellow
kayak, which I have found to be the most comfortable ride on the
water by far. I can lie down and rest my head and even take a nap
and let Chris do all of the work. I find all of these experiences very
restful and rejuvenating at the same time.
The family has quite a collection of boats in their fleet which
are lined-up on the tiny-pebble shoreline. The nieces and nephews
and their friends have such fun swimming, swinging over the water
from a rope attached to a shapely willow tree called “The Lady of the
Lake,” playing on the floating dock, doing a little fishing or taking the
boats out for a spin. There is always much activity when everyone is
at the cottage. Sometimes, I take a nap on the shaded slope up away
from all of the activity. I find the fresh air and scent from the wild
vegetation surrounding the area to be very intoxicating and soothing
to the soul.
This past summer, we went up to the family cottage and I met
my new cousin, Dugan, a Wheaton Terrier. We became friends right
from the start! He was still a puppy, so he did test my nerves a bit,
but as soon as we both went into the lake and swam together, things
were great! We lounged alongside the sloping grassed bank of the
lake and took naps. Then, we went swimming again! Chris and Lori
went swimming with us, too. Then, they took me for a canoe ride.
I used to be able to sit up in the canoe and look around, but my legs
were sore, so I just laid down for the ride.
The real surprise came later that summer when the side door
to the house opened up and cousin Dugan’s family came inside with
a crate, food, treats and toys and they LEFT cousin Dugan in his
crate in the basement! Well, since I will not do those basement stairs
anymore (long story…), I waited for my family to get home. Then,
cousin Dugan was out of the cage and running around everywhere!
What was going on?! Finally, I learned that cousin Dugan was staying
over for a few days while Chris’ family visited Papa and Bobci on
the St. Lawrence River at Cape Vincent. Apparently, no dogs were
allowed there either!