Monday, July 30, 2013
The Madeline Island Ferry was just about to draw up its ramp when I pulled up to the loading zone. Anything bigger than my Mini Cooper would have never fit into the ferry’s remaining space, where I squeezed in between two other cars.
It was only a short twenty minute ride across the choppy waves of Lake Superior to my destination. I watched Bayfield fade into the distance, saw another Ferry heading the other direction, went past a fishing boat that was being trailed by a cloud of hungry, squawking seagulls, and watched the island draw near.
When I arrived at Madeline Island School of the Arts, I signed in, got my key, was issued a flashlight (not much light to see by at night), pulled up to my cabin and unloaded my things. The cabin appeared to be brand new and smelled of cedar.
I transferred four bottles of beer and a few apples that I’d brought along into the room’s mini-frig, hung up my clothes, and set up my computer to see how good the Wifi connection was.
I’d just sat down in a chair next to a table when I heard the door open and my roommate peered in to say hello. We have our own rooms with bed, table, chair, and armoire, but we share a bathroom and shower. When we walk out of our bedroom, we enter an area where there are two sinks, a mini-frig, microwave and a mini-coffee maker. I quickly removed two of my beers from the frig so my roommate had room for some of her things.
We headed over to the red barn where there was a welcoming supply of wine, cheese, crackers, and fruit for the students that will be on site for the next five days. There are three classes going on at MISE – the writing class I’m in, a batik class, and a drawing class. There’s a good mix of people who have been to a class on the island before and those of us who are first timers.
But now, it is morning and I am on my first mug of coffee made in the room’s mini-coffee maker. Do these in-room coffee makers and the mugs standing alongside them ever get washed? How many germs am I drinking?
Oh, never mind. I don’t care! I’m here! My first full day at Madeline Island! My first day of class!
I’m looking out my window at a meadow, which is surrounded by a wall of pines and birch trees. A few people are walking past me, heading towards the big red barn where the dining area is located. The writing class is in the upstairs area of the barn, a big open room with a square of facing tables, a coffee maker, and a jar brimming with homemade chocolate chip cookies. I’ve been told there are a thousand cookies that were made to fuel our creativity for the week. I wonder if that will truly be enough.
We were told breakfast would be available from 7:30 to 9:00. Could coffee perhaps be ready earlier? If there’s no hot coffee, it’s not worth the trip down the lane to the barn. Decisions, decisions…
I hear my roommate getting up. I closed my bedroom door to give her some privacy while she got herself ready. But wait! She just walked out the door! We were going to go for a walk, but she must not have wanted to disturb me. Shoot!
Oh, well, I still have more reading I’d like to do before heading out of my room. I’ll have enough time to eat breakfast and go for a short walk on my own.
As I flip through the files I’ve brought with me, wondering where I should start. My Muse opens one eye, debates whether she’d like a bit more snooze time, then thinks better of it. She is tapping lightly on my shoulder, then more insistently, urging me to go outside.
I close my book, push my feet into my shoes, pack my computer, notebook, pens and reading materials into my backpack and step out the door, ready to write.