Saturday, April 24, 2010

On the Road Again...

My SUV is packed to the brim. Barely found enough room for me to wiggle into the driver's seat to begin my 1,500 mile trek back to Northwest Wisconsin from my winter stomping grounds in Western Montana.

It's always sad to say good-bye to Montana family and friends...but it's also good to get back to my family and friends in the Midwest. Today's drive through Montana was spectacular as always - driving through lush valleys filled with ranches and meandering rivers, surrounded by velvet green gently rolling hills that are framed by snow-capped mountain peaks piercing the endless blue sky. Climbing up into the sky, winding through steep mountain passes.I'm always in awe of the massive boulders that are perched precariously on top of each other, changing color as the day ends.

On the way, I stop to take more photos of the remnants of old log cabins - windowless, moss-covered roofs caving in. My writer's mind can't help but wonder about the pioneers who once lived there, what their lives were like. As always, I try to absorb these impressions, knowing that they may well show up in one of my future novels.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Haunted by Waters

"I am haunted by waters..." - Norman Maclean

I, too, am haunted by waters...That's why I had to set my novel, Waters of the Dancing Sky, on Rainy Lake along the Minnesota/Ontario international border. This remote wilderness lake is a place for reflection, renewal, and connection with spirits of the past.

One of my favorite places here is Kettle Falls, now a part of Voyageur's National Park. From the United States side, you look south across the roaring falls - into Canada! This erratic international boundary line was created to honor the historic route of the French-Canadian voyageurs. Colorful brigades of birch bark canoes, loaded with fur pelts, paddled along this river of commerce over 200 years ago.

Rainy Lake is also rich in Native American history and artifacts. The Ojibwe lived beside these waters, gathering berries, harvesting wild rice, hunting, and fishing for great sturgeon beside the falls.

Man has been drawn to water since the beginning of time. Sitting on an island in the middle of Rainy Lake, I become a part of the lake itself. The gentle waves sooth my soul. Perhaps we are all haunted by waters, by a primitive longing for a simpler time...