During the day the quiet, respectful staff worked in their office spaces, while I inhabited “my space” in the house where I spread out my work at the kitchen table. From there I had a view of the deck and the back yard. I went to Door County with the intention of finishing my second novel, On Summit Road. Except for an epilogue chapter and a couple of tweaky things, I accomplished that goal, working about six hours a day.
But I did not chain myself to the computer. Every morning I took my coffee outside, at noon my lunch, and when I needed breathing space, I walked the trails on the Write On property. In the northern woods, a poem began to write itself in my head.
One day, after the hot weather had moved out, I took a picnic out to The Coop, the coolest little writing space (once the personal writing nook of Door County’s best known writer, Norbert Blei). While out there I returned a wasp to the wild instead of ending its life, I ate my picnic lunch, and I worked out details for the climactic scene in my book. I wished there had been a padded bench, for besides writing, the little coop with a woodsy breeze blowing through the screens would have been an excellent place for a little nap.
I met three very nice Door County poets at their monthly gathering in Ellison Bay and spent a second evening in Ephraim at my friend’s condo, where she was entertaining three friends from home. Both events were fun, but it was my solitary time that I cherished the most. Each day I did not fail to remember what a remarkable gift I had been given.
But by Saturday I was ready to come home. I had accomplished what I had set out to do.
Would I do it again? ABSOLUTELY!
Here’s the poem I wrote about the woods.
Whose woods these are
–for Write On Door County,
with gratitude for your woods and more
The spindly limbs of young beech trees
arch o’er the path’s wild strawberries.
The breeze alive above my head
sings in the leaves what needs be said.
A fallen tree, a withered brook,
the stone an ancient glacier put.
Acorns fall into the dark
and bounce against blackened bark.
A graveyard made of fallen trees
reposing at each other’s knees.
A weathered fence a poet’s book,
angles nearby a meadow nook.
And now and then peeks out the crown
of granite mountain underground,
that chills the glacier springs below,
renewed by rain and winter snow.
The birch king rules his woods with grace
though time has settled him in place.
In youth his limbs reached to the sky,
inspiring those who passed him by.
His withered bark now curled and gray
has long since tired of woodland play.
When sunset rests upon his lap,
I’d climb him gladly for a nap.
But I have miles to go it seems,
the way ahead is full of dreams.
So I emerge back into sun,
where grasshoppers and crickets run.