This story comes to us from Sarah, who is entering in the children’s category. Sarah lives in Clarendon Hills, Ill. She writes: “This story is about taking my little sister to Lake Michigan. I realize that one day this could all be gone and learn to appreciate nature a little bit more.”
Here’s her story:
The old Volvo station wagon chugs along the highway. I press my forehead against the cool glass window. I know that I am leaving a smudge, but I don’t make any move to wipe it off. My baby sister, Rachel’s head lolls in sleep, her chin resting against her chest. It seems like we have been driving forever, but in reality, it has only been half an hour. I am an impatient little seven year old.
“Are we there yet?” I ask my mother.
“Almost” my father answers, annoyance prickling his voice. I have asked that question about ten times now. I know that I am beginning to annoy my father, but I am so excited to get to the city. It is not really Chicago that I am interested in, but the lake. I can almost feel the deliciously cool water creeping up my legs. I press my head to the window again and watch the scenery flash past.
Finally, we are there. My sister yawns and stretches her arms, her hand balled into fists. She is two, but this is the first time that she will get in the water. My mother helps my father unload the bikes from the bag of the Volvo and we bike down to the lake, my sister in the seat behind my father.
I rush into the cool water, and fall back into it about knee deep. Rachel rushes in after me, squealing as the water hits her stomach. I pull her on top of me and she shrieks in joy and kicks her chubby little legs. She is 2, so her communication is basically shrieking, squealing, and crying. I hoist her back up to her feet and we run into the waves, making a game out of it. I pick her up and swing her around in the water, skimming her feet on the waves.
Soon, though, Rachel tires out and follows her back up the beach, watching her as she squawks and chases seagulls. I plop myself down by my mom and sigh, “This is my favorite place in the whole world!” She smiles at me and goes back to keeping an eye on my sister, who is shrieking now, because she tripped and fell. My mother goes and swoops her up out of the sand and sets her down beside me, where she soon falls asleep, her thumb in her mouth.
My happiness doesn’t last. On the drive home, I see a man on a boat dropping trash into the water. “Mom, why is that guy doing that?” I ask my mother. I know littering is bad, but why would anybody do it in a lake.
“I don’t know Sarah.” she says. I frown and watch the lake glistening in the afternoon sunlight.
I am now twelve years old and teaching my sister, now 7, little things we can do to make a difference. Like, not leave the water running, or, don’t flush the toilet more than once (she laughed at that one). My sister loves the lake like me, and I trust that she will always respect it, just like I will.
Thanks, Sarah, for sharing that story. Good advice for us all!
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