December, 2002

Dear Readers,

This morning I awakened to find that my sometimes turbulent, sometimes placid lake is now a five-thousand-acre field. The lake froze over last night, and although it is not yet safe to walk on, I know that shortly (with sub-zero nights forecast) it will once again become a hub of activity.

House in WinterIce shanties will appear over favorite fishing spots, skaters and ice-sailors will take advantage of the short-lived clear ice season; and when the snows put an end to their fun, the snowmobilers and cross-country skiers will quickly fill in the void.

Such is the view out my front window. There are two windows, actually – large plates of glass designed to keep only the weather out. In fact, it often appears as if the lake is merely an extension of our home, and has become an integral part of our daily lives.

Mother Nature is not something we watch here, but participate in. The four of us (my husband and two sons) live outdoors almost as much as we live inside. Our summer room is the lawn down by the lake. Our winter room is often my husband’s ice shanty, which has cooking facilities and even beds to accommodate brave overnight campers.

We hunt, fish, snowshoe, ice skate, snowmobile, and are entertained by the abundance of wildlife willing to grace us with a visit. The loons have already left – the babies to the ocean, the adults to warmer climates – and for one short moment the lake seems suspended, waiting for cold-loving people to arrive. Bald eagles will soon be coasting over the area, hungrily eyeing unattended fish pulled through the ice. Coyotes will be spotted through the scope, trotting across the lake in search of new hunting grounds. Deer will find our succulent shrubs, thinking we’ve planted the trees just for them. (They’ve also been known to peek in our windows at night.)

Our three cats have moved inside, having decided sleeping in front of the woodstove holds more pleasure than harassing the squirrels. The outerwear hanging on pegs by the door has become decidedly bulkier and now includes boots and mittens and hats. The house has been battened down, the chimneys cleaned, and the wood stacked, and I find myself also drawn to the woodstove.

Ice Fishing

Ice Fishing

As I gaze out at my momentarily silent lake in anticipation of thick ice and deep snow, I contemplate the hero of my next book and wonder what gauntlet he must run to win the love of a deserving woman.

Welcome to LakeWatch, the home of my heart. Come back soon, and I’ll give you another glimpse of the changing seasons responsible for the rhythm of our lives.

Until later, from LakeWatch