Tookers Island (Lauren Ross)

Outdoor exploring gives Juniper (Lauren Ross) a way to practice and create. She says, "Three of the poems were written on Tookers Island at the end of a week of solo kayaking on Lake Superior.

Zen mindfulness is the ground of my solo adventures. Mindfulness and the present moment keep me safe. Much is birthed from there, including poetry."


You were perfect on the day
that I died rather than leave you.
The seas were calm.
The barest ripple
marked hidden rocks.
The sun blazed,
half-hidden by clouds.
The air was still with possibility.


There are stones of gem quality
And views to dazzle post cards.
But nothing of any value
Is carried
Beyond these shores.


I came to know a perfect moment
when it is certain that the day will bring
No more wind
Than I can handle.
I came to remember how and when
knowing arises in the belly
I came to forget a thousand neglected necessities
So as not to be distracted from what
is unimportant
and essential.
I came to watch uncountable stars
fill the night sky;
and to remember why nights without moon
I came to watch the sunrise and sunsets
of eternity.
It is only now, in leaving,
that I've remembered why I came.


If I should die upon the water;
Set off from shore
and not return,
Do not grieve for me.
I knew a hundred stony beaches
Uncounted wave-washed shores,
And the unfiltered sun on a January afternoon.


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