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
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