Reporter waves so long to GL country

ARIANA HONES WAVES after successfully making it to her feet during a water skiing adventure with Clancey Nicholls. submitted photo

by Ariana Hones

“Where are all the people? The lake is so quiet.”

That is me. I am on the water near County Park about to water ski for the first time in at least seven years.

“It is a Monday morning. People have jobs.”

That is Adele Parks. She has been with me and my summer antics before. She is about to successfully water ski for the first time in her life.

“Work—what is that?”

That is Clancey Nichols, leader of the informal Green Lake Water Ski Club. He is not about to water ski, though he can balance better on water than most people can on land. He is going to drive the boat.

Clancey and I met at the beginning off this summer.

Back when I drove from Minnesota to Wisconsin for a weekend of harried interviews before rushing back to the Twin Cities in order to not miss my graduation ceremony.

Back in May, he told me stories of life on the waters of Green Lake, specifically of the beauties of bare-footing and toe-holds and whipping around the lake with such jubilation.

“Have you skied before?” Clancey had inquired.

“Yes, but not too successfully and it must have been a very long time ago,” I said.

“Well, you will have to come back,” he responded.

And I did. It seems fitting that this final Green Laker column ends with Clancey and my childhood friends Adele and Danae Parks.

After all, that is what a summer on Green Lake is all about — connecting with a community over a mutual love of a life well lived.

I got in the water.

It was luke warm and a little weedy.

I was trying to remember the steps Clancey had been coaching me on.

Ski tips up, arms straight.

Ski tips up, arms straight.

Ski tips up, arms straight.

I really wanted to get up on the skis the first time.

“Say ‘hit it’ when you are ready,” said Clancey from his spot behind the wheel.

Was I ready?

I thought about the embrace of the water, the tickle of the weeds, the fact that this job had given me an opportunity to spend 9 a.m. on a Monday water skiing with friends both old and new.

I thought about the faces of this lake-side community.

The invitations into homes, laughter over shared cups of Sassafras Coffee, trips to the farmer’s market after a day of interviews, the 10 spectacular women that had made up this summer’s Text Talks, the articles written previewing events that would fund-raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for a community that cared so deeply for the people and places it encompassed.

I thought about all of the stories. From sustainable agricultural practices to book reading dogs to photographs of flowers.

The lessons learned.

Ski tips up, arms straight.

I thought this place would be easy to say goodbye to.

My emotions muddled by the gentle lapping of water at my legs.

But perhaps that is the greatest thing about this place: the quietness felt when realizing you will always belong.

In the water, with the thrum of the engine beside me about to start on an adventurous ride around the lake shore, I finally understood that the way you say thank you to a place most beloved is by experiencing joy in its presence.

It was time to go.

“Hit it!”

Publisher’s note: Thank you, Ariana, for doing a terrific job this too-fast summer as Green Laker reporter. We will miss your smile, enthusiasm and fine writing, but wish you the best as you embark on your exciting new adventure.