The Angel of the Lake

Tromping down to the lake the first morning at the Mary Anderson Center for the Arts, PP spies the large calm expanse of blue gray water. A single fishing boat floats in the middle of the lake. (She’d passed the “Fishing Club Only” signage or should she say trespassed it? There were applications available in the wooden informational box at the gate to join said fishing club. PP opted not to join. At least not today.)

An amazing thunder and lightening rainstorm had hit the place early that morning, waking PP up with boomings she’d never heard the like of before. The flashing glowing clouds illuminated the sky when she opened the blinds. Hell. She wasn’t in Oakland anymore! She’d heard of thunderstorms in the Midwest, but hadn’t really understood their power and drama.

That morning, the path round the lake now muddy and slippery from the storm, PP picked her way, making her way out onto a little dock, kneeling and sticking her hand in the calm still water.

Damn! It was WARM!!! She wanted to jump in right at that moment, but the intimidating, legendary signage of “NO SWIMMING IN THE LAKE WITHOUT A FRANCISCAN FRIAR” kept her at bay.

She glanced around. Only the two fishermen in the distance—they obviously didn’t give a damn about her. Why not?

But she hadn’t brought her suit, and the sky was threatening again, the gray clouds dense and moist. What if she jumped in and another lightening storm blew in? Wasn’t that just asking for it? Especially with the Franciscans watching over the lake. She could feel them.

At the same time, PP wasn't a religious person, let alone Catholic. So why the hell was she gonna let the feeling of the Franciscans keep her from swimming? What were they gonna do to her?

Banish her from the Lake?

Heaven forbid!

Yet, still she felt a little trepidation on this first day out. So she opted to skip the swim this first day and instead took a dappling walk around the lake’s muddy perimeter, making a detour into a “Excuse Our Mess: New Prairie in Progress.” Stopping to admire the round little meadow full of tall green grasses, she thought how she’d never really seen a prairie before, let alone one in progress. Damn. The Midwest was just as weird as she thought it would be.

But the lake beckoned her back to its shore, as she plunged back down through the prairie and round the edge of the lake to come upon….


The Angel of the Lake.
PP stopped in wondrous awe as she approached the 5 foot marble statue, her whiteness slightly mildewed, her left wing broken off, but her hand held a marble torch high in blessing of the Lake. Her soft curls, stilled by the marble as PP stroked her round cool head.

She was the Guardian of the Lake. And she would be her inspiration. To swim. To write. To fool those damn friars.

Hell, she wasn't gonna let a stupid sign keep her out of the lake! Lord knows, she was no Angel!

Till tomorrow, she thought as she waved goodbye to the Angel of the Lake, making her way back up to the Loftus House where AR waited to take her to the Jay-C store for decidedly nonspiritual provisions.


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