One of our favorite summer spots is just three miles away at Spring Canyon, part of Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area. Lake Roosevelt is the reservoir behind Grand Coulee Dam, so right now the water is low in anticipation of spring run off to prevent flooding downstream. Soon, the spring of the mountains will flow into the river and fill the lake again.
Yesterday, we visited to see the expanse of sand that will be covered with water and the dock that will again fill with kids seeking fun and the cooling off from the glacial waters of the mountains far away. It’s an “ahhhh”-some view now and will, indeed, produce sighs of “ahhhhh” when the summer heat is cooled by these waters.
My thoughts for this poem was to capture the lovely spring view as the setting sun casts its shadows on the lawn and beach— a place and time where one feels that “ahhh” sigh of relief. I didn’t start with that— but began with the shadows and the lawn and the empty, beached dock. That is the setting. It’s the season of anticipation for the filled picnic and beach areas of people seeking relief from our summer heat.
With that set, I brought forward the thought of now— spring— and what it brings— the glacial melt waters.
Finally, what we anticipate— the kids [and all of us] stepping into the very cold waters of Lake Roosevelt, stepping in sweating and hot from searing heat, and so often we hear, “Ahhhhh.” It was that ending that brought me back to what I thought when I stepped out of the truck to take the picture, “Ahhh, the lovely park.” And so the beginning and the ending of the poem came to be: Ahhh.
Shadows of the evening sun
stretch across greening lawn
Exposing the dock and beach of sand
Where spring rains bring back water’s high
So children cool with summer’s sigh.
Where is your place of anticipation, a spot that is seasonal and passing it makes you ready for its time and your participation? How does it change with the seasons? Draw your reader from a moment of pause and wait to that moment when you return for whatever draws you to it. What is your phrase— the “anticipatory” thought you have when you pass by and when the you stop to participate? Could that be your begin and end?