Reading, Writing and Reflecting: Porphyry Island, Part Two

My mind is still buzzing from my four-day writing retreat on Porphyry Island. The setting nourished my soul and my writing companions provided constant inspiration…and plenty of reasons to laugh.

Jean E. Pendziwol, author of The Lightkeeper’s Daughters (and numerous children’s books) was our host for the retreat. I knew I’d found a kindred spirit the moment we met. Down-to-earth, witty with just the right amount of mischief, she challenged us to stoke our creativity by trying new media (drawing, painting) and intriguing writing prompts.

Every day we had time to ourselves to focus on our own writing, read or explore the island.

My goal was to write 1500 words a day on my new novel and spend time outdoors becoming reacquainted with the wild wind, crashing waves and soaring birds of the Great Lakes. I grew up at a cottage in a tiny village on Lake Erie, so the sounds and smells of the Great Lakes have always spoken to me.

I awoke early with the rising sun and spent an hour on the rocks of the point every morning watching the lichen grow as the light grew brighter and the moon slowly faded into the blue sky.

rocks and water

At breaks, I went for walks on the black pebble beach, searching for heart-shaped stones as well as porphyries – rocks containing crystals, usually feldspar, for which the island is named.

heart rock.jpg

Some days, I spent time with the Arctic hares, bounding past my feet, or the Monarch butterflies brushing the air around my face.

hare.jpg

Other days, I was happy to sit watching the Sleeping Giant drift in and out of blankets of mist. Look closely at the photo below…can you find me?

me on rocks

I wrote a lot, which of course is the point of a writers’ retreat, but I also healed. I realized that it had been a long time since I had slowed my pulse to the rhythm of the earth and allowed my heart to ebb and flow with the constant waves. Nature teaches, if we are willing to be still and listen.

sunset.jpg

Although I am home again, far from the shores of Lake Superior, Porphyry Island remains raw and rugged in my mind and in my soul.

lone tree

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