©Poems of R.F.Mueller- Other Times, Other Thoughts
BY WINNEBAGO'S SHORE
We were two of like mind and in those days lived forever.
The Spring Canoe
You tempted us with your impetuous lines there where we knew you'd be beneath the root-washed willows. O you could tell us what to do-not we you, And you stirred us less by your canvas and varnished wood than by ice age birch and cedar calling to enter those cold gray waves illicitly, though neither of us could swim a stroke.
The Maple Woods
Moon-silvered clouds, you chase me still above the dark limbed grove we left to trace out our separate ways. But the sound of the snowmelt torrent never dies from where we lit our cooking fires and drank the sweet sap in that frosty light so long ago.
The Scout Camp
Bolstered by your scoutmaster's confidence you slept soundly in your little cabin, future community leaders. But we community scoundrel-delinquents who had no hope of leadership hiked the eye-poking woods for hours to reach your haven, and while you slept, swiped your sour dough
from the spring-but found it tasted bad.
The Osier Swamp
We went there to claim our share of wilderness, to cook tea in birch bark kettles and smoke sumac leaves while the snow fell fast from shearing skies. Sometimes we met Forest, the friendly old woodcutter who told stories of his youth. But he had a mean streak, like when he cut poison sumac and sold it to a neighbor for firewood- all told with pride.
The 'two of like mind" refers again to my close friend Wally P. We actually did temporarily expropriate this canoe, which its owner had hidden along the shore, for daring rides on the rough waters of Springtime The timelessness of my experience in "The Maple Woods" pops up again here! I still remember that night hike to the scout camp! The "osier" referred to is Red Stemmed Dogwood ( Cornus stolonifera ). We called Great Horned Owls in this swamp, which also contained the deciduous conifer Tamarack ( Larix laricina ).