The sight stayed with me. Haunting, in a way. Soon I turned back, and put ashore. I wondered if it might be the place I'd stumbled upon 37 years ago, with a little tumble-down cabin up in the trees, the place I've been searching for these past few summers.
I did a quick walk-through the thick undergrowth without finding anything of interest. I wasn't dressed for thrashing through the bush, and was more intent on getting to camp than exploring, but promised myself to return some time.
At camp, I met a raven - beak to beak - at a distance of two feet. My eyes were on the steps as I climbed to the deck, marveling at the huge deposits left by flying birds. One was the size of a small pie, right in the middle of the step where I wanted to plant a foot.
At the top step I looked up and peered smack on into the face of a huge raven on my deck rail looking right back at me. Pleased, because I've been trying to make friends with Ray and Honey, the raven pair nesting 100 yards down the shoreline, I started talking in my gentlest voice. "Howdy, neighbor. Thanks for stopping by. How are you today?"
He didn't say anything, but looked like he was hearing a foreign language and was trying to understand. That's what it seemed like.
Watching this goofy show unfold, Rosie and Boomer came bounding up to see what the conversation was all about. With two dogs pouncing, the raven took one look, jumped a foot in the air, flapped one wing, and promptly plummeted, face first, straight down, seven feet, to the ground. It was a pitiful display.
For the next half minute I felt like the Saturday night bouncer at Bubba's Bar, trying to separate dogs and raven. Eventually, I got them separated and we watched as the young raven hopped through the weeds and undergrowth like a cowboy on a pogo stick.
As I cast a minnow off the dock a few minutes later I could still see that raven, caroming along the lakeshore, bounding from rock to rock, in his clumsy, but successful escape. I caught two fat walleyes on my first two casts, and put my rod away for the rest of the weekend, as that would be plenty for my weekend meals.
The rest of Friday was pretty lazy. I got the hot tub moved from one side of the yard to the other side, beside the new palace deck. I had hoped for help, but eventually just went ahead and did it, hernia be damned. Did lots of barbequing. Lots of relaxing.
By Sunday morning I just had to go explore my newly discovered site. It had been on my mind for the last two days. It's only about a mile from camp, so between showers I boated over and scouted around, looking for Marilyn's cabin.
It was wet and hot, and tough going in the tangle of growth. Marilyn hasn't been there for about 60 years - when she was a girl in the 1950s. I haven't seen the site since 1978 - about 37 years. Even now we don't know if my quest is the site of her old camp. But it might be.
After an hour, I had found an old broken dish and a couple of rusty tin cans, but no sign of the old cabin, and rain was threatening, so I decided to head back to camp. As I pushed off shore and was preparing to take some parting pictures, an Osprey flew overhead and glided into a tall spruce tree right where I had been searching. Here's a picture of him.
Also shown is a black and white picture Marilyn sent me. It's her camp, with flag flying out front, taken sometime in the 1940s or 1950s, and a picture I took this morning of the shoreline where I went to explore.
I think the Osprey sent me the message to go take another look on some fine, sunny day.