Taking a Break

A writer (and farmer) needs a break now and then. Every summer mine is to drive nearly seven hours north until the road runs into the waters of Rainy Lake (or crosses the bridge into Canada.)  I stay with nine other writers on a small private island once owned by Ernest Oberholtzer, the man responsible for preserving broad swatches of nature in northern MN and Canada. In the 1930s (?) he stood up against the proposed hydroelectric projects that would have destroyed the wilderness.

The buildings on Ober’s Island have been preserved. His belongings, down to his piano music, have been kept in the cabins. All who use the island are respectful of its past, and its future. Oh, and there are spirits still living in the Main House…but that’s another story.

So here’s my ‘cabin’ this year, a lovely building called Front House, because it’s at the front of the island.

Here’s the view forty feet from Front House.

The kitchen is an old river boat, now surrounded by a deck. 

You step inside, and go down stairs. This would be the part that was in the water when it was a boat:

The island does not have running water, so if you want to get clean, your only choice is to jump in the lake. During heat waves, it’s lovely. On a normal summer day, however…holy frijoles, it’s cold. Here’s the swimming beach:

I feel so lucky to be part of a group that has been able to visit this island, off and on, for nearly fifteen years. It’s been the place where I recover, think about my life, and get excited about writing all over again.

So, new novel, and possibly a new nonfiction as well (acck-not sure), here I come….

12 thoughts on “Taking a Break

  1. I was just recently doing some reading by Elaine St. James. She’s a firm believer in going on periodic retreats. This one sounds like the perfect one for you. Hope you enjoy it to the utmost and return home refreshed and re-energized . . . and well into your next couple of books!

  2. Looks like a fantastic get-away, and I hope it inspired you because I’ve almost finished Sheepish and happily await your next book.

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