Baxter State Park

photograph, text and haiku by Kristen Lindquist

Spent three days in Baxter State Park, primarily at South Branch Pond Campground in the northeast corner of the park, so that I could lead a session on journaling and haiku for the ten cool kids in the Maine Youth Wilderness Leadership Program. As preparation for my session, I wrote a few myself to share so that they could see how they themselves might be inspired by the breathtaking natural surroundings. (And because I wanted them to focus on the concept of capturing a moment in a creative way, rather than the traditional syllabic structure, the following haiku do not follow the strict syllabic form as the other haiku I’ve written here do.)

In addition to (literally) soaking up the beauty of the pond, surrounding mountains, and lush woods of northern Maine, we hiked a six-mile trail following Howe Brook up a cleft of Traveler Mountain. This mossy, cobbled stream wends its way through water-carved pools and potholes, cascading over smooth ledges and down steep shelves–a perfect place for trailside swimming on a hot day. Frogs sang us to sleep, and the waning gibbous moon lit the trees outside our lean-to all night long.

Already August
and only now
my first swim of the summer.

Mountains embrace the pond–
wide, pebbled bowl,tiny swimmers within.

These two fishing loons,
almost as loud
as the splashing swimmers.

Two loons surface near shore,
calmly ignore us all.
They own this pond.

Drumming across the pond,
a single woodpecker–
how loud!

A white noise machine,
wind drowns out
all human voices.