Friday, 5/18/01 - Monday, 5/21/01 - Solitude and Fun in the North Woods
In the mornings, I walked the Berts down from our apartment to the lake and along the paths that led to various cabins, each one secluded and by the water. The Berts loved all of the trees and places to explore, and I was finally moving around outdoors.
The entire resort has been in the Ross' family since the 1920s and has worked hard to preserve the natural surroundings, both on the golf course and on the grounds. The trees create a lush, green canopy over each of the brick red wooden cabins, clubhouse and the main lodge.
Inside, the lodge is warmly lit and cozy. On my last day there, a fire glowed in the fireplace to ward off the chill as cold rain poured from the skies outside.
But the first several days at the resort were sun-filled ones, and I sat outside with my laptop, writing or trying to write. The Berts stretched out to sunbathe as the three resort dogs, yellow labs named Duncan, Tinker and Noggin, ran about in the distance.
Bert, the barker, always had a few choice doggie curses for the big dogs but on occasion, he calmed down and stood beside them, curious. I've always noticed that yellow labs seem the most calm around the hyper-bossy Bert. And when I've thought of getting a big dog someday, it has always been a yellow lab in my mind.
Of the three resort dogs, Duncan was a mellow fellow, the one most tolerant of the chihuahuas but also always up for a no-holds-barred run ahead of one of the golf carts, through the woods and down the paths at breakneck speed. Noggin was always seeking a pat on the head, snorting like a pig and running into you with her round body. Tinker was a new, young mom to seven gorgeous pups, the stars of the Lodge.
Right away, I wanted to adopt a pup and gravitated toward one of the male yellow labs. His name was Morning Chorus because when he was born, the birds began to sing as the sun was rising.
At this point in my life, I'm on the move and searching for a new place to live, but until I find that place, a puppy is probably not the sensible thing to add to the mix. But he sure was so amazing! I held him in my arms and he rested against my chest, soothed, I think, by my beating heart. His little squeaky cries subsided into contented sleep.
In a few weeks, the resort will be bustling - kids jumping into the pool, people playing horseshoes and shuffleboard, riding bikes, golf carts buzzing around, golf fanatics living their fantasy golf games, dogs running about, boats in the lake. But these few days before the summer crowds were perfectly peaceful.
On one of the evenings, the Ross family invited me to join them on a boat ride around Lake Teal. The evening air was cool and thick with the smell of rain and trees. The sun began to drop from the sky, spreading a tinge of rose and purple from the clouds to the horizon.
The lake was fairly calm, with only a handful of other boaters, mostly fishermen, on the water. And as we rounded the corner back to the resort, Tim pointed out how on the rest of the lake, the natural landscape was pruned back and thinned and the houses or other buildings were prominent. But the Ross cabins were nearly invisible behind the thick growth of trees.
As the boat pulled into the dock, darkness settled gently onto the water. We walked back to the house with the chirping and hum of night-time creatures surrounding us. Nature all around.
On Monday night, after we were rained in most of the day, the Ross' taught me how to play Hearts and we sat around the table, each of us with a puppy on our lap, playing cards, talking, laughing. I marveled at how welcome and comfortable the Ross' made me feel during my entire stay, how like family I felt. Such a great, great time.