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10 Years of WRofG

 

“You’ll never find a book that better describes Wisconsin than this one.”-Dan Dieterich, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Professor of English. This month marks the 10th anniversary of “Wisconsin River of Grace” (Cornerstone Press) being published. WRofG was featured in Northern Public Radio’s 2012 Winter Book Series.For 10 days watch for contests, broadcasts, specials, & more on FB & IG: @KyleWhiteInk . WRofG is available at www.Amazon.com

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sounder fuzzy.png

Wail-ail-ail! honk-Onk-Onk-Onk! Whoop!

“What the devil?” 

I am startled awake by this deep, echoing, trumpet sound right outside this Northwoods cabin, and I fumble for my glasses and phone. My gracious friends offered me their Land o’ Lakes, Wisconsin cabin for a writing retreat. I am here alone for the week–my wife agreed I couldn’t pass up this gift–to write, to consider life in my “third act”, to pray. I will be 52 in a few weeks. 

At 1 a.m., on my first night, my heart races. 

Among my friends’ instructions for the cabin: consider bringing a can of bear spray. As unsettling as that tip is, I can only wish this sound is that of a bear.  It is unlike anything I have heard before. I check the windows. Nothing. A gibbous moon circled by clouds, the shimmering of Landing Lake, and the deep darkness of the pine and birch forest. 

Again, the blast of a hoarse baritone, followed by what sounds like a dying car alarm, underscored by a sonar pulse. But none of it is mechanical. It is more prehistoric. 

Again, it echoes across the lake. Calling. I am alone in the middle of the circling and soundings. I peer out the window and crack the sliding door slightly. A movement in the trees? Maybe. Then the sound of something thrashing the water. No one will believe this unless I can record it, so I hold the phone to the screen door for two minutes. Quiet. Then eight minutes. Nothing. Then ten minutes. Silence. The mystery continues; the creature doesn’t reveal itself in response to my desire to identify it.

I go back to bed, googling: “creatures of Wisconsin forests”, “animal sounds of the Northwoods”, “I’m scared and alone up here”, etc. Nothing helpful. I grew up with stories and folklore of mythical beasts in Wisconsin: Sasquatch; Hodag; Wendigo; Will-o’-the-Wisp; Jack Pine; and others. At 1 a.m. my mind is flooded with lurking creatures.

I settle back to a troubled sleep. 

2:30 a.m. Wail-ail-ail! honk-Onk-Onk-Onk! Whoop! I jump out of bed, run to the door, and slide it open to record the creature. The calling is distant this time, across the lake, but I get 28 seconds of fuzzy audio. You hear it, don’t you? Yes, maybe there’s a trumpeter swan, a common loon, maybe a great horned owl mixed in there. But there is an underlying, lonely, sonar pulse element to it, right?

This creature, the Sounder of Landing Lake–as I’ve dubbed it, in case the newspapers want to talk to me, or I need to make t-shirts–it’s out there. I have seen it. With my mind’s eye. I know what I heard: a figure, six feet tall–a conservative estimate. It has a long pterodactyl beak (thus the resonance) lined with muskie-like teeth. A slender, long, tucked-in neck.  And, six, long, avian limbs ending in webbed talons. Like a heron it steps cautiously through the shallows, in the moonlight. #TheSounderOfLandingLake  

And this restless creature with its mournful calls is not menacing. In fact, I fall asleep to the distant echoing. Rather, I think it is pining out there. For what, I don’t know: A far-off companion? A settled life? It’s Maker? Who can know?

I place a personal ad in the Vilas County News-Review: Dear Sounder of Landing Lake, Despite my initial terror, I hope you are out there. Past the WiFi, and the satellite dish, in the forest. Maybe you hope I’m out here, too. Maybe we could even be friends. Kind Regards, KLW

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EnneAnimal Prints!

What’s your Enneagram number? Uh, what’s the Enneagram? It’s a tool (like Myers-Briggs or Strength Finder) for understanding ourselves and others that can be valuable for personal growth. At the very least, it’s a great conversation starter with friends. You can read more about the Enneagram here. Consider Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery as a starting place.

Familiar with the Enneagram? These 11×14, archival, animal-themed prints will remind you of your strengths, and prompt a few questions for growth. $20 each (includes shipping), or all 9 for just $150. Message Kyle in the form below & you’ll be invoiced.

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bwm ad promo fb

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Now Available: Eight, archival matte, 11″ x 14″ illustrations from the upcoming book Bear. With Me. (A Field Journal).  Plus, the bonus “Bear + UFO” print!  Restful & mysterious for your lake house, office, kid’s room, den, etc. To order, use the form below. Enter your name, e-mail, mailing address, and, in the comments, your print choice(s). You’ll then be invoiced for payment through PayPal. Print(s) will arrive in a week or so!

Prices (including shipping+handling): $23.75 for one; $41 for two; $60 for three; $95 for five; $165 for all nine. Inquire for other quantities.

 

 

 

 

 

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Got to read “Haiti! Up!” with some 4th grade classes last week. Great discussion as they’re the same age as the main character. The purpose of the book is to tell the story of our beautiful & broken neighbor: Haiti. The book benefits a children’s home and school in Mirebalais, Haiti. Click the link on the menu to order a copy for your kids, school, church, or library.

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