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A prayer and a song (06/24/2007)
By Janet Lewis Burns
"Oh, what a beautiful morning; oh, what a beautiful day. I've got a wonderful feeling everything's going my way!"

Fragrant spring winds sing with innuendoes: ancient beach sand between tanned toes, the "cluck, cluck" lapping of lake water in a boat's wake, mournful cry of a loon in sync with early morning anglers, the rhythmic rush of finch and jay swaying on bird feeders and flitting away.

"Bababa, bird, bird, bird, bird is the word!"

It's great to be back"¦to things of winter dreams! Pat and I are all geared up for our eighth season at our Chetek, WI. hide-away. "Happy trails" and "pockets full of posies!" Weekends will once again be musical with birdsong and cozy with evening campfires vibrant with chatter, "when my blue moon turns to gold again." "Forever in blue jeans, Babe!"

On our first morning I slept in. As the May sun slithered between lanky oak branches budding out, I nursed my final mug of tea. Warmth and mesmerizing rays fuse me to my recliner and sweep a shadow of fingers directing a pen across this paper slate. "Sunshine on my shoulder makes me happy. Sunshine almost always makes me high."

Our novelty cukoo clock, with its various birdcalls on the hour, had greeted no one all winter long as its batteries kept going and going. "I'll be seeing you in all the old familiar places." Companions again stroll past camper windows as couples and buddies bring their day's catch to the cleaning shed or pause to visit and share a laugh. There's no pressure of duty to prod and annoy the happy camper, no schedules or meetings. "Don't think twice, it's alright."

Hours of the day can be pleasantly productive, as idle time allows for renewal and rejuvenation. I can't help but consider prayer, not the same here in one's personal wilderness, not the monotone, memorized petitions. It's more like entering solitude and emptying oneself, to wait for God to speak. "For the beauty of the earth, for the glory of the skies, for the love which from our birth over and around us lies"¦"

At times prayer can be evident without spoken words. A street person implores a passerby, his anxious, vacant eyes pleading for a handout. "Please" is written all over the faces of devastated parents facing the reality of their teen's drug addiction, when they don't know where to turn.

A tornado victim implores anyone, with silent screams, helpless pleas for mercy. From that time forward, "the green, green grass of home" will never be the same. Is it not prayer to shed tears of empathy for the misfortune and losses of others?

Even in the most binding and loving relationships, nurturing personal solitude can enhance your character and beautify your virtues. Of course, one can be selfish in their escape for alone time. "Man overboard!" It takes two in a marriage to keep a canoe forging onward on an even keel. If one partner becomes too selfish and demanding it could turn into "two sparrows in a hurricane!"

There was a certain magnetism as Pat and I first visited Chetek on a fluke, with no particular plans in mind and nobody up there that we knew. The whole aura of the place seemed to say, "Welcome to my world. Won't you come on in." Within two weeks we inquired at only one resort, stepped into the camper that was for sale there, and soon to be ours, and signed the papers to rent the spot we've been on ever since.

"We're walking in high cotton; good times there are not forgotten." With a prayer and a song in your heart, a personal wilderness can "make the world go away" for a time. "Birds fly over the rainbow. Why, then, oh why, can't I?"

With gratitude to all the ingenious lyricists and writers of songs and symphonies!

Janet Burns has called Lewiston "home" for all of her 62 years. She can be reached at




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