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THE LAKE HOUSE Riley Steiner Miami University

I’m sitting just a few feet away from my aunt, but even though I see her lips moving, I can’t hear a word. My ears are filled with the high-pitched whine of a chainsaw. “What are they doing?” I try to call over the noise, but then it suddenly becomes even louder, and I peer out the sliding glass doors of my grandparents’ house that look out onto the deck. I see my uncle standing on the wooden bench with his arms stretched up in the air, holding the saw up to one of the pine trees that stands between the house and the beach. He’s cutting where a large branch meets the trunk, and I watch the branch slowly dip downward as the saw chews through the wood. Finally, it drops to the ground with a crash, landing on the bed of dead needles below. These trees haven’t been cut in forty years. Through their branches, I can see where the sand begins and beyond that, out to the sparkling blue lake. This place has always been the same to me; I can chronicle my childhood based on my visits here. But now, everything is beginning to change. * My grandparents built their house in the 1970s, in what was then a tiny town in northern Michigan called Traverse City. It’s nestled on a peninsula that juts out into the lake like a child’s curious finger reaching out to touch the water. The house itself is a grand structure, made of brick and sleek dark wood. Floor-to-ceiling windows face the lake so that it’s almost as if you’re never inside at all. And, really, who would want to be? The lake, with its quiet waves and water as clear as the Caribbean, is irresistible. My mom and her two brothers grew up here, sailing in the summers and walking on top of the lake in the winter, when the temperatures dropped so low that the water was frozen into a thick layer of ice. They went to school here, played sports here, stumbled their way through teenagehood here. My dad even proposed to my mom on my grandparents’ beach. And every summer, my mom brought us back here. It’s only a sliver of what it was like for her growing up, but even that small taste has been enough to keep me dreaming of the lake during the eleven-




Profile for Oakland Arts Review

Oakland Arts Review Volume 4  

Oakland Arts Review Volume 4