Seasons On the Lake
Jennifer Archer for The Shadow Girl Blog Tour
I love spending time at the small lake near our cabin in the Spanish Peaks area of Colorado. Each season of the year brings a new sort of beauty to the lake. In the summer, the surrounding trees and the meadow beyond the lake are a lush green. The trees sweeping up toward the gray rock cap of the West Peak behind the lake are an even deeper green than the meadow.
In autumn, some of the aspen trees lining the lake seem to catch fire, their leaves turning flame orange, while others turn a startling yellow. The lake is still and clear, reflecting the colorful trees as clearly as a mirror. The West Peak dons a gypsy skirt of green. In both Summer and Fall, people young and old toss fishing lines in graceful arcs toward the water’s surface.
But fishing poles are exchanged for skates as winter covers the Peak with a white blanket of snow, and the water transforms into a dark sheet of frost-dusted glass. An expectant hush descends on the lake, as if the water below the ice is sleeping. Only a few brave souls venture outside into that shimmering, white silence.
Then comes spring … undecided, torn between the peaceful, pristine cold and the golden warmth of the sun. Patches of snow still dot the Peak, but the lake is slow to thaw, even as wildflowers peek shyly out from the meadow grass.
In The Shadow Girl, Lily lives nearby a lake that plays a big part in her life, past and present. I based that lake on the lake near our cabin. Lily holds her father’s memorial service there, and in the following excerpt from the book, she recalls how the lake helped to bond her friendship with Wyatt:
Cookie rides in a crate on the back of Dad’s four-wheeler. I follow behind, my headlights illuminating them. Every so often, Cookie turns to glance back at me. His ears flap in the wind, and his teeth are bared like he’s grinning.
The lake appears ahead, the water a glossy black ink stain. The sight of it takes me back to the winter I was seven when I first met Wyatt. His mom had just decided she had better things to do than raise a kid and sent him here from Dallas to live with his grandparents. A couple of days after we met, I taught Wyatt to skate on this lake. He’d never ice-skated before, but when I tried to give him a few tips, he cut me off. He knew what to do, he said. He was a Rollerblader and ice-skating couldn’t be much different. He’d show me every trick he knew.
But when Wyatt and I stepped onto the ice, the only trick he did was the splits, and not on purpose. The seat of his pants tore right up the seam, and as he struggled to stand, I caught a glimpse of his Star Wars long underwear. Falling served him right for being such a show-off, so I laughed. But I also offered him a hand. At first he wouldn’t take it, but then he laughed, too, and let me help him up. From that day on, Wyatt and I were best friends.
Here is a video of my most recent visit to the lake near my cabin on a cold, snowy day – the same lake that I imagined while writing the above scene from The Shadow Girl. The wind was noisy while I filmed, so you’ll have to listen closely. And watch for Marge, my dog, as she darts across the ice!