The Lake That Became Real: How a Place Can Empower Your Imagination
Updated: Mar 18
Do you remember the posters of your childhood?
I especially recall the ones I saved up for with pennies, nickels and dimes earned from doing chores. As a Beatles fan, I once counted out the coins in my hand and bought a poster with the title of their song, “Let It Be.”
The Beatles: George, Ringo, Paul and John. Photo Credit: The Library of Congress
In a departure, the poster didn’t feature the Fab Four. Instead, an image of a forest, with sunlight streaming through the branches, graced the poster with the words from The Beatles' song.
A Simple Scene
On the best spot on my wall—the place where the sunlight hit just right—hung another poster, my favorite of all.
It featured a deceptively simple scene of a misty lake surrounded by tall cedar trees. Just emerging from the mist, a bird flew with outstretched wings.
I always wanted to know that bird's destination—where did he want to go that was even more beautiful than the lake? I wanted to fly along with him, looking down at a green, green world mixed with the refreshing blue of water.
In reality, I grew up in a very hot part of the country, the next thing to a desert. Water of any kind was golden! Lakes surrounded by tall cedar trees and green ferns were not part of my everyday experience.
I enjoyed being outside in the way children do who adapt to their environment. On summer days, the temperature could go up to 110 degrees or sometimes even more.
As a young adult, I had no firm plans to ever seek the coolness of the picture I’d loved as a child. Finishing college, finding a job and making a living filled those spaces that had once found nourishment from the lake in the poster.
An Unexpected Home
Then, one year in a new time in my life, my husband and I moved further north. Exploring my unexpected home, I came upon a lake.
I first saw it in the early evening light. As I stood there gazing at the water and the tall cedar trees, I heard the singing flight of wings. A mallard took off from the silver surface of the lake, skimming low over the water, emerging from the mist.
The painted lake of my childhood had become real.
Coming Full Circle
Over the years, I lost my childhood poster. I cannot even recall when it happened. Fortunately, I see the echoes of the painting in my new home: the tall cedar trees, many different kinds of birds and green, green everywhere. With my Scottish heritage, it is the place of coolness, water and sky that I always somehow felt should be home.
Now, the Lake has come full circle, for the reality of it has turned into a place in my imagination. In the walks I take almost every day, I find inspiration for the novels I write, set mostly in the Pacific Northwest.
I not only see the images that find their way into my stories, but I also discover the “feel” of the place—a “feel” I can use to try to make the wild Washington coast come alive.
Taking a Friday Walk
We'll meet some surprises along the way...
I'm the author of Mystery Shores, a novel of secrets taking place on a remote lighthouse island. The mystery is set along the misty Pacific Northwest coast.
When I'm not writing, I enjoy reading biographies and cozy mysteries, bird-watching and hiking in the Pacific Northwest.