By Howard Meyerson
LUDINGTON, MI — It’s rare these days that I get a chance to just sit. Deadlines beckon and emails stack up. If not emails then other online demands, or family and home matters. Quiet moments, it seems, are hard to come by.
So, I relished the opportunity I had recently to just sit quietly on a bed of pine needles in the forest, more precisely in the middle of a portage during a solo canoe outing.
I’d set off from Grand Rapids planning to paddle the four-mile canoe-trail at Ludington State Park. It’s a delightful trip that follows the sandy and forested shoreline of Hamlin Lake, before heading inland through cattail marshes and landlocked ponds, returning eventually to the lake for the return trip.
The trail is easy and well-marked. Portages are short, meaning 100 feet or less. Just watch for northerly and easterly winds as the lake shoreline portion is exposed.
I’d stopped on the portage for quick cup of coffee, thinking to move on right away – just a minute or two sitting. Then it struck me: I didn’t have to be anywhere. I could sit for hours if I wanted. And, I was tempted to do just that.
I had come prepared for contingencies. I had two fishing rods, just in case; a dry change of clothes and plenty of snacks. Campers at the park were still fixing breakfast when I launched. I’d come thinking I could get back to town by mid-afternoon and finish other work still sitting on my desk.
But as I sat sipping coffee in the silence, I was taken by how pleasant it was sitting in the woods all by myself. A kingfisher chattered on the next pond over. The breeze rustled leaves now and then creating a soft whisper in the trees. Any tension from the work week had melted away. Continue reading