Sitting on my front porch, feet curled up on the edge of the chair, knees scrunched against my chest, I am rocking. I can feel the cool breeze off the lake, hear the wind rustling the dense canopy of leaves overhead, see a few tiny wildflowers peeking through the edges of the forest.
In December it will be eight years since we chose to leave Nashville, to move north and live near the lake we cherish.
Nestled in a pocket of pachysandra growing between the rock wall of my porch and the wooden boardwalk cantilevering over the dune of my front yard, sits my reader. She is a young woman, in her late twenties. She, too, sits with knees near her chest as she balances a book in one hand, a glass of wine in the other. She appears to be listening, intently. But her face shows no emotion. The book speaks of intellectual curiosity. The wine tells me she takes neither me, nor herself, too seriously.
A sculpture of rusted steel, she was a gift from my mother, selected by my husband to share the floating platform which is home to two giant anchors shipped from somewhere on the east coast.
The anchors are all Rubin. The reader is all me.
What would I tell her, my reader, if she were my daughter? Can I explain why the eastern shores of Lake Michigan touch my heart like no other place? Can I counter all the negative press? All the reasons young people her age are fleeing this state? Why voices of cynicism and despair are always the loudest? And how difficult it is to learn to listen to the soft, gentle voice within?
I keep rocking.
I have no pearls of wisdom. Only eight tumultuous years of experience.
But I want her to know after sailing this massive body of fresh water, after hiking the mountains of dunes and miles of sandy beaches, and bicycling along the forests, rivers, and marshes stretching from the Indiana Dunes to Mackinac Island, I consider this part of the world a sacred place. And I, like many others, am committed to protecting it for her and her children.
I want my reader to have hope.
I don’t know that she will listen. But I have to try.
© 2012 by Mary M. Schmidt
8/16/2012 03:44:57 am
What a lovely statement of both ongoing mission and everlasting hope! Clearly, Mary has a deep connection with the land she calls home and her intentions toward protecting it are evident for all to see.
Mary Ellen Miller
8/16/2012 04:09:00 am
How apropos: the writer writes about the reader. A symbiotic relationship similar to what Mary is trying to promote between the Lake and the human beings in its environment. Keep writing, Mary, so we can keep reading.
8/18/2012 01:26:10 pm
The beauty of both the writing and the ideas expressed brought tears to my eyes.
8/23/2012 08:45:55 am
INSPIRATIONAL! Thank you, Mary, for sharing your gift of writing creating a living canvas of ethereal colors in our minds. Reading your words we all become a part of your appreciation of the Lake. Through your writing you take us along with you on your journey of appreciation and hope.
8/29/2012 07:58:47 am
What a unique idea to talk to your Reader as a mother talking to her daughter. It gives a sense of reality to the message--which is certainly a meaningful and inspirational message.
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