I am participating in Teachers Write!, a summer writing camp for teachers and librarians hosted by Kate Messner. If you haven't already joined, what are you waiting for?
Today's challenge was to write about a place, then revise for sensory details. I couldn't limit myself to the required paragraph. Go figure. I guess I have lots to say.
When I talk about the Northwoods of Wisconsin, I can’t help but get a sparkle in my eyes. The first real conversation I had with my husband was about just that—the Northwoods of Wisconsin. I recognized the sparkle in his eyes as we talked, a reflection of my own affinity for one of the most incredible places on earth.
The summer between my 6th and 7th grade school years, my family decided to leave the suburbs of Chicago and move to a peninsula between two lakes in St. Germain, Wisconsin. We had a vacation home that had begun to call our names with greater and greater strength. It was as if we were being called home.
When I stood in the living room, my feet pinched by the beveled edges of the hardwood floor, I could see water on either side of me. Lake Content was a small, calm lake. Perfect for a private backyard retreat. Perfect for a canoe ride, for wildlife watching, for studying native plants and trees. Big St. Germain Lake was just the opposite. A large, roudy body of water fit for being noticed, for pontooning, for swimming (day or night if I was feeling bold enough).
Some of my most important days were lived in those woods. But when I think of that Northwoods home, the moment that I carry with me is a quiet one.
I sit at the edge of the pier, dangling my feet off the edge, into the water. I hear the hum of boats in the distance, the voices of fisherman loud enough to float over the water, but not quite clear enough to make out their words. I watch the minnows swim around my feet, relieved, knowing their presence is a sign that there is no bass lurking under the pier waiting for a juicy toe to bite into. The steady beat of a woodpecker calls my attention to the tree on the shore behind me, but not long enough to miss the regal wingspread of the bald eagle dipping through the air off the point. A dragonfly buzzes past, landing deftly on the water’s surface, bobbing on the gentle waves. I watch it carefully to be sure its wings remain dry enough to ensure its flight once again. I am alone—a peaceful loneliness wrapped in the company and bustle of the natural world around me. I am alone. My eyes sparkle.