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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

"Up Nort"

I'm "Up North" now on a writing retreat. My goal is to finish my new script and then convert it to a novel. I had good luck doing that last August with my first script.

"Up North" in Wisconsin is an elusive thing. You'll hear old-timers call it "Up Nort." Nobody really knows where Up North begins. I've heard that a certain tree only grows north of Terre Andre Park, so maybe Up North starts north of there (not sure how to spell Terre Andre, sorry).

I think most of us Wisconsinites associate "Up North" with PINE TREES. When you go WAY up north toward Canada, you find sandy soil and endless evergreens. Sometimes you see marks on telephone poles where bears have run their claws.

Anyway, I'm not THAT far north. I'm in Markesan, about 75 miles north of my home in Menomonee Falls. I'm staying in our cozy old house trailer on Little Green Lake, in a campground with 57 other trailers. What the place lacks in privacy and classiness it makes up for in VIEW.

Today before I started writing, I jumped in the lake and swam to the island and back - not a long way really, but sure refreshing. I wear an orange hunting cap (some fishermen told me I look like a buoy and they were about to cast out to  me) and I drag a white life ring behind me by a rope tied around my waist. Our bay is not popular with speed boats because it's pretty weedy, so my swim route is relatively safe.

For three summers, I didn't jump in the water here because everyone told me it's a "dirty lake." I will say, it's called "Little Green" for a reason. Then a few weeks ago, Mike & I were staining our deck on a day that was about 85 degrees with about 85 percent humidity. After four hours of that, I was radiating heat. I couldn't take it; jumped into the lake with my painty clothes on.

What a revelation! I've been swimming since.

I guess this moral of the story is it's better to try something yourself than to believe what people say.

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