A Lake in Northern Pennsylvania Posted on November 30th 2011

A year or a lifetime – sometimes one makes
or breaks the other

The season of color emblazes
again these hillsides, and I am but
an ember burning in this wedge

of evening. Through this screened
window comes a cooling
breeze, these nights form a mosaic

memory of wire mesh, that porch
swing, a metronome counting
my final days on that coast. Beyond ancient

oaks we meet pale as midnight
moon, she barefoot and arched
against Northern nights

an omen hanging thick
in air. The old train trestle, a
bridge connecting past

to future, spans an unforgiving
drop, and hand in hand our
cadence marks time on its ribs.

There, far below us, is our lake in Northern Pennsylvania.

The moon shows the lone opening
into this shadowed world, the forest
and lakeshore beneath

that moonlight awash in shadowy
mist. We empty our pockets stone
by stone into its dark waters, reciting

dreams as the lake swallows
them whole. I yearn for a winter beyond
this safe, mid-Atlantic town, and she…

She longs for these long nights by the lake to never end.

I know now how fragile that iron
trestle was. I walked home alone that
changed night to distant, soft

applause. The cold rains dropped swiftly,
iridescent, liquid pearls pelting
the tidy, patchwork lawns. I cursed

concrete, the town I knew too well,
and continued to walk its hooded streets under
shadows of melancholy skeletons.

A cacophonous traffic jam of emotions, I halted
beneath the stormy torrent, my arms extended, fists
turned heavenward, and pleaded to

the cleansing rain. A lightness
falling, my angst melted to sudden
wonder as the rain turned chalky

white; a growing silence. An intense flood
of scenes flashed staccato in my head:






Standing atop an open white bowl pushing
off explosively snow billowing whispering
a thousand thought messages up and over


my shoulders rolling off my back an
enveloping conversation no words just motion
kinetic understanding more keen


than discourse no earthly ties
just snow and gravity and falling freely
down my own line my own tracks I leave in time…


The snow fell soft as candlelight, yet
clung to both the pine boughs
and my arms with a strength

greater than religion. Our limbs
weighed with the burden of growth
and the bread of our lives, we—


the tree and I—both reach to break
through the clouds and sip those stars
dry, to drink their champagne

essence, to feel their bubbles sing down
our throats. Yet we bend in the slow
methodical struggle of opposing forces:

gravity and weightlessness, adventure
and comfort, effort and repose, confusion
and clarity. I weighed the

security of 23 familiar years and a heart’s
compulsion to move on. In that snowy
moment the algebra of intention

and instinct merged, complexity melted
into a decision of crystal purity:
A new home. A new life.


It was time to find it.


Stars now sunken and rains retreated, dawn
breaks in swords crashing through old oak
trees. Through this screened window faint

sounds echo of the night’s torrent. This last
cold morning out East hits like ice in warm
soda. I drink its effervescence and toast

it goodbye, the soft amorphous
layers beyond the raised window
bleed like open wounds

coloring themselves another shade.


Tagged as News, Ron Shevock
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