Bryan Daly read his Phi Beta Kappa "Wit and Wisdom" prize-winning poem "The artist on his shores" at today's Bergren Forum. He introduced the poem by talking about Eddy Foster who created Foster Lake in the middle 20th century. Some of the words I scribbled down as he was reading: the tarp of the sky, it's only irony (about the Segway inventor trying to fly in his Segway), how can I float so long?, eulogy (for Mr Foster) or elegy (for the lake). For Daly who grew up near a reservoir that serves as water supply for Boston, a lake is a deep body of water in which towns have been buried. Alfred's little Foster Lake is not deeper than twenty feet and resides at the top of a hill with two outlets that run to different watersheds. It "miraculously" filled the summer it was built (1950) ... with a bit of help from heavy rains associated with a hurricane. Daly's elegy to the lake was beautiful and thoughtful, and evocative.
His thoughts about Eddy Foster were tangled up with thoughts of his grandfathers. My first trips to Foster Lake were as a child when my family would visit my maternal grandmother and great aunt. And today would have been my father's 92nd birthday. The lakeside trees were small then, and now it's a forest. My mother was a legendary floater too.
We're still buried in snow here and Daly had lovely wintry photographs to "illustrate" his poem. The picture above is one I took last summer during a bird walk around the lake. The walk around the lake was one of my mother's favorite times. So today is for parents and grandparents and hope for spring.