Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Week 19: Clam Lake, Wisconsin

We are settling into a quiet routine on Clam Lake. I put myself on a writing schedule and we even set the alarm for seven in the morning. We get up, do some morning meditation and readings; I roll out my yoga mat so stretch while Larry tends to the cats, Little Guy, Darby, and Jill and then goes out to fill the bird feeders. After breakfast, I go up to the desk in the loft, and write five pages of a project I'm working on. I enrolled in a class through Mediabistro on memoir writing that just happened to be scheduled for the ten weeks we are staying here. Besides the assignments for that class, I take suggestions from my editor, and continue to just write scene after scene of things I remember that fit into the arc and theme of my book. Writing is an intense process, and I rarely leave breakfast bounding up the stairs, eager to write. It's always fine once I start and have a few sentences down. But I have to remember, a writing practice is like exercising, and the more I'll do it, the more I'll want to suit up and show up every day. At 11:30 or so, I might walk to the post office or go snow shoeing with Larry on the lake, anything to get out of my head, my memories and into my body.


Little Guy

Lovely Jill

Our second day in Clam Lake and the day before Lea and Jerry left, they helped us put on their snow shoes, which they are generous enough to let us use while we are here. Snow shoeing is a lot more work than walking, but it's a wonderful way to get through the eighteen inches that have consistently been on the ground since we've been here. It's the walking poles and moving them that make me sore between my shoulder blades.

I'm still trying to figure out what combination of clothes to wear. Snow shoeing is a lot of work and the down jacket was too warm. However, I still can't find the right layers for my hands to keep them warm enough. Yesterday, my fingers grew numb while we were out on the lake and I got scared and hurried back to the house, after having large ambitions of walking the whole perimeter of the lake. Still, I was out for thirty minutes. Once I was back in the house and my fingers started to warm up, they actually started to hurt. But that passed. Today, it was only 0 degrees outside, though the sun was shining, so we decided  not to snow shoe. I got cold enough walking to the post office to mail some postcards and letters. If anyone wants a letter or postcard, please let me know. I'm happy to write.

Wednesday, after Lea and Jerry left, and we were suddenly given the gift of this beautiful home with beautiful plants, a gorgeous lake view, deer feeding in the afternoons, a cleared off desk with a nice note wishing me well on my writing projects, we had breakfast and then drove into Hayward to do some grocery shopping. Having lived in a remote town in Texas for four years, I wasn't too hopeful about the produce selection, but we were pleasantly surprised. They even had plenty of organic produce and we've been able to continue our habit of lots of fresh vegetables at every meal. Though Clam Lake only has about 40 houses on it and the majority of them are closed up for the winter, Hayward is a cute little town with a nice coffee shop, plenty of gift stores, the Freshwater Fishing Museum which has an outside area with a fish as big as a two story house that you can walk up into (though it's closed this summer). It's a winter tourism destination and many people visit to snowshoe and cross country ski. For a town of about two thousand, there's a lot more in it than we expected. Cable, too, is a super cute town, with a Natural History Museum, library, coffee shop, plenty of cafes and gift shops--and the population there is only about 700. I don't have photos of the towns yet, but will post them next week.

On Saturday, there was an ice fishing tournament on Clam Lake, and we snow shoed over to the small village of ice shacks that had popped up on the lake.

Even though Clam Lake is remote, we are a ten minute walk from the post office, couple of restaurant/bars (which, during lunch hour, have about thirty snowmobiles parked in front of them), and a gas station/store that has plenty of basic provisions and Clam Lake tourist gear, so we definitely don't feel out of touch with civilization. The good news is that our cell phone provider is the one that works here, Verizon, so we can take calls, if you are so inclined.

We're still leaning into the quiet and space that our days offer us. I found that six hours a day to write was way too much time to be in my brain and that I have trouble switching between the memoir, Sweetie Pie projects, and poetry/short story revisions. So today, I took a nap before getting on the exercycle and doing sit ups. I'm working to combine time in my head and time in my body. And nothing reminds one of the body as much as weather that one isn't accustomed to. I'm grateful to be able to go outside and feel my skin and be reminded that I'm in a body and that it's glorious to be alive.

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