What do you do on your way to the Thousand Islands? For Ryan Leiberher, the ride from central Pennsylvania to Wellesley Island may seem monotonous, However, Ryan got his pencil out and before long he captured the thrill of crossing the 1000 Islands Bridge and arriving for his two week vacation - perfectly on paper.
Ryan is a Wildlife Biologist in real life, graduating from Penn State University and at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. He and his wife have three children, who all love their River holiday. One son is fortunate as he comes-up with his father for the opening of the Bass Season each spring and at the end of the season a few of Ryan’s friends join him for a Fall weekend in the islands.
And to answer Ryan’s query sent in mid-September… “I’ve been coming to the islands since I was a boy. I recently wrote a poem highlighting the journey from central PA to TI. I wonder if you would like to share it with your readers.” – “Yes, most certainly.” I said.
Susan W. Smith, Editor, TI Life
Spring out of bed, grab coffee and go, headed north, on a road, that rattles your tow
Mile markers pass the window like the ticks of the clock
Up and over the mountains, down the other side, a path so familiar on life's rollercoaster ride
A great bend in the Susquehanna marks the way North
Past the lake of “White Water”, where the brown fish swim, the countdown of minutes is about to begin.
The road flattens out, the trees start to lean, the cool breath of the “Big Lake” can always be seen
Off in the distance, you squint for the first glimpse of green silhouetted against the blue bird sky
Around the bend, up the hill, and through the rock cut, the grand green arches stand tall saluting, like a glorious green gateway to heaven.
Time to slow down (ugh) and pay the toll.
Roll onto the magic carpet of concrete and steel and up, up you go
Under your feet the currents of the River drain the “Lake of Shining Waters”
Ships pass hauling their freight, family's folic, and lifetimes of memories are made every second
Fishermen search for the perfect shoal of bronze
The Islands blend into the flowing waters, and the River fades into the horizon
Where heaven begins, and earth ends, only God knows for sure
Snap a quick pic, with the guide rail in frame, exit on 51, cross-island road will finish the day
Morning sun rising, the sky bleeds pinks and blues, as a choir of loons sing enchanted tunes
Coffee too strong, brisk air fills the nose, the mighty River wets the trailer bunks and brings this Journey,
to a close..............
Mining for Bronze
Steam rises off the water, summer time’s last gasp, the gales of November closer than ever. Winter is near; orange, red, and yellow fill the treetops. Ospreys are gone, headed for warmer waters to the south. Tourists are scarce, only a few souls remain, the hardy River-Rats, or the fisherman who know what this time of year means. Rocky shoals rise from the clear water that were lost in the depths only months before.
Stop, drop the trolling motor, 25 feet - the magic depth. The treasure trove below awaits. Grab a favorite instrument from the deck of the boat, a 7-foot-long miners hammer with a chisel tied to the end to probe the depths. Drag the chisel, bounce it, hop it through the rocky miner’s hidden below, searching every nook and cranny, with the precision of a surgeon with a scalpel. A blind miner you are, the hammer 25 feet over top of the mine and the chisel probing the depths to find the treasure of bronze hidden in the River’s labyrinth.
Suddenly, there is resistance in the mine below. The chisel is alive, moving on its own in a maze of rocks. Hoping for bronze, the hammer is raised to the sky with force, instantly the mine cart is filled. The cart races on its tracks, pitches and rolls, like a fighter pilot chasing the enemy, up and down over and over again. Out of control on its tracks with a full load, it falls, rises, twists, turns, and shakes trying to return its bronze payload to the abyss.
Finally, the cart rises toward the surface then, back down it goes, a bull dog, back to the bottom the River selfishly refusing to relinquish its treasure.
Just when is seems the cart cannot be controlled, it rises again, and breaks the surface of the River’s glassy waters. Time seems to stand still for the shortest of seconds, revealing 5 pounds of beautiful bronze bounty. The bronze treasure shimmers in the morning sunlight. Things are in slow motion, the sun, the sky, the boat, the Rivers currents and breezes, time moving at a snail’s pace, eyes wide open all focus is on nature’s perfection revealed within arm’s length.
Kneel down, like a pillaging pirate about to snatch a gem from the treasure chest.
One more shake and the cart spills its bronze glut back to the depths, a treasure lost, to be found another day.
Only the memory remains......
Cruising at first light, cool air flowing past the ears, squinting to see through the steam rising off the tranquil river. Back off the throttle, the boat sets down softly into the water like falling into a soft pile of fall leaves.
Idle toward the swift waters of 2 nations, a narrow pass, one lane only. Gin clear water, lily pads, rocks and current mark the way.
Standing strong and attentive is the guard, adorned in Blues and Greys, standing his post like a gatekeeper ready to sound the alarm.
Standing still, still as a statue, he waits and waits, gazing into the sparkling waters for the next finned meal to swim by.
His guard post, a buoy of white and orange, marking the shallow rocks flanking the entrance.
Idle closer, the guard assesses our intent, wait for the sign, he opens his wings and takes flight, the heavy morning air flowing under his wings.
He bellows the signal, “You are cleared to pass on this perfect rift morning”.
Poetry by Ryan Leiberher
Ryan Leiberher is a Wildlife Biologist in real life, graduating from Penn State University and at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. He and his wife have three children, who all love their River holiday. They live near Harrisburg, PA.
Comment by: Dorothy Sedock
Left at: 3:14 PM Wednesday, October 17, 2018
Oh my gosh. We are from Pennsylvania and we have the same experience every year when we leave for our journey north. Thank you for saying in poetry what we have been feeling for many years.
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