The voice of my home state beckons and I hear her call. In a few days, I’ll board a small plane and fly west toward Wisconsin. My siblings and their families all live there and there my mother rests eternally on a hillside overlooking the town. I’ll visit her, of course, to whisper a prayer, and to place blue flowers on her grave. More than anything, to remember.
On the weekend, our family will gather to celebrate our time together. The long-range forecast calls for 75° with sunny skies. Blissful. Over picnic lunches followed up with wickedly delicious sweets and Norwegian strong coffee, we’ll nibble and sip, sharing pictures, reliving childhood stories and those of our lives today. I’ll reacquaint myself with my nieces, nephews, and grandnieces – all growing up too fast. My siblings and I will get by on too little sleep and grow hoarse with our late night talks.
Late in the week, after our last driveway hugs, I’ll drive north in my rental car to Green Bay to attend the WisRWA Write Touch Conference.
Five or six years ago, I joined WisRWA as a distance member. I’ve come to cherish friends made there, and on the Yahoo! loops. At the annual conference, we listen to speakers, and pitch our books to agents and editors. And, as with family, we grow hoarse with late night talks about our writing, our stories, our lives.
My visits to Wisconsin refresh my soul. To hear the sounds of my youth, to be wrapped in the arms of shared memories and values, is a gift I give myself. I’ve been away too long. ∞