Even toward its center, the lake is growing shallow,
farmland it had mercilessly flooded now fighting back,
rebellion stoked by the runoffs from its cousins still under plow.
Suddenly, my kayak slips over a channel,
deeper water hosting a school of fingerlings, not yet threatened by heat of the coming summer.
Do these small fry invite the young bald eagle to soar above, then fade into the pines and hemlocks?
The raptor’s debut is talk of the landing where
a fellow kayaker boasts of pickerel he
snagged and then released in the channel.
Leaving the lake, the kayak snugly loaded into my pickup,
I pass the dairy farm. Its immaculate barn and sign
celebrating survival amidst so many neighbors left fallow or
hawked to developers, or leased to a newer species of
raptor that soars above the Marcellus Shale, above
Mountain Maryland and Annapolis.
They know nothing of catch and release.
Their hooks kill without remorse.
Len Shindel began working at Bethlehem Steel’s Sparrows Point Plant in 1973, where he was a union activist and elected representative in local unions of the United Steelworkers, frequently publishing newsletters about issues confronting his co-workers. His nonfiction and poetry have been published in the “Other Voices” section of the Baltimore Evening Sun, The Pearl, The Mill Hunk Herald, Pig Iron, Labor Notes and other publications. After leaving Sparrows Point in 2002, Shindel, a father of three and grandfather of seven, began working as a communication specialist for an international union based in Washington, D.C. The International Labor Communications Association frequently rewarded his writing. He retired in 2016. Today he and his wife, Maxine, live in Garrett County where he enjoys writing, cross-country skiing, kayaking, hiking, fly-fishing and fighting for a more peaceful, sustainable and safe world for his grandchildren and their generation