Notes from the Island
November 2002

It has been another beautiful month down here on Sycamore Island. This is really my favorite time of year. The summer flowers have wilted but the Maples and other trees now dazzle with their brilliant colors. October has also treated me to migrating warblers, vireos, and sparrows as well as daily sightings of hawks and woodpeckers. The natural world is always amazing to me but to be able to watch this dramatic change in seasons makes me even more fully aware of my connectedness to it.

This month has been tainted by tragedy and even though I've been enjoying the relative safety of the island I'm struck by the fragility of our lives. I'm drawn to nature at times like these, and yet I feel somewhat guilty about the pleasure I find in such small-scale matters as the call of a wren or the flight of a heron, especially when we are faced with the consequences of a war on terrorism or the prospect of an attack on Iraq. I also feel, on the other hand, that it's times like these that remind us to stay in the moment and appreciate the simpler things in our lives.

I really have been enjoying the island. My daily summer swim has been replaced by a daily autumn paddle. Normally I take out my own canoe but I will occasionally borrow other boats to take advantage of this paddler's playground outside my door. My daughters are also taking to the sport, I'm happy to say, chasing me in kayaks as I paddle my canoe.

I must say I'm surprised at how few visitors I get down here. There are quite a few members and waiting-listers that I've met at least once, (I apologize for not remembering your names all the time); and there's a core of regular visitors, but it seems to me there's a large percentage of people that I've never met. On that note, I would like to give the Caretakerís Award for Most Frequent Visitor to John Mathews who faithfully comes down almost everyday.

-- Joe Hage, Sycamore Island Caretaker