Sunday, May 1, 2011


Despite the fact that Old Man Winter doesn't seem to recognize the fact that it's time for him to go away... my thoughts have turned to spring. After all, it is May 1st today!

When I think of spring, I can't help reflecting about springtime on Rainy Lake along the Minnesota/Ontario international border. This is the place where my novel, Waters of the Dancing Sky, is set, a place that I fell in love with as I researched background for my novel.

A good friend from Rainy Lake recently sent me his copy of a book entitled "Ober and his Rainy Lake World." It's a collection of articles from the Rainy Lake Chronicle newspaper that was published in the charming Rainy Lake Village of Ranier from 1973 - 1982. It includes numerous "Drumbeat" columns written by Editor Ted Hall, whose work I greatly admire. I'd like to share excerpts from one of Ted's columns with you today:

At the end of a warm day that was kissing our northern winter good-bye a thunderstorm rolled in from the west and stamped winter's exit visa. In that wild wet night the gray ice plain began to darken and along the shoreline of the lake the band of open water widened.

The prudent traveler slides a canoe beside him and is ready to sprawl into it when the squeak of ice underfoot sounds a warning note. A man watching his footprints deepen as he stands in them meets aloneness face to face... It is winter's corpse he walks upon, the rotting ice, but all around is life. The greens of the forest are brighter now and the blue juniper berries are plump and perky. A doe heavy with fawn moves serenely along the inner rim of a small beach, then slips back into the woods. A pair of Mallards fly away, circle back, and land precisely where they'd starated from. Ranier herring gulls have come to begin early patrol.

Here on the mainland the ice has retreated from the shoreline and a canoe moves easily down the avenue curbed with ice on one side and granite on the other. From a notch in the cliff a slender thread of water falls forty feet to the lake.

The earth is turning and it turns only one direction. It is tilting our northern band slightly toward the sun, just enough for the water to run again, for those mallards to nest again and for a man to journey out to see up close some of the detail work that goes into the changing of a season around here.

Along its edges the black ice crumbles into sparkling needles. They ring like crystal bells. The bells are playing the recessional for winter. They're playing the processional for Spring.

Spring seems to bring out the writer and the poet in many of us... Happy Spring to you all!

Stay tuned...and please stay in touch.

Janet Kay

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