I spent a couple summers at New England Frontier Camp on Kezar Lake, which was one of National Geographic’s Top Ten Most Beautiful Lakes… in the world. It’s a boys’ camp and I broke all the rules for girls – I liked spiders and I was fascinated by snakes and frogs are neat and I was the person who removed wasps from the dining hall. Sorry, guys. I’m just kind of good at being different. I was my parents’ fourth child. I was a girl and I had hair. After three bald boys I was definitely different.
How you ever met a Northern Water Snake? I found one, sunning herself on a rock. I stopped reading and watched her instead, so intently that one of the staff members had to come ask what was going on. She got scared by the intrusion and slithered off the rock into the lake, and swam about ten yards to hide in some rocks,
I HAD NO IDEA THAT MAINE HAS SNAKES THAT CAN SWIM.
I really do like snakes, so that was super cool. At another point, the same snake was on the boat ramp and they needed her moved. I offered, if they got me leather gloves, but no one believed me. They figured it out themselves.
Anyway, I wrote the above poem last March for the Rockland Public Library Poetry Contest 2015. I won second place for the teen category. It was one of my first dozen poems, and I wrote it just a few weeks after finishing my poetry class. I was flabbergasted to get the email that said ‘Oh hey, just so you know, you won second prize, wanna come to Rockland and read your poem to us?’
So it was worded more formally than that, but whatever. I went to Rockland with most of my family. I read my poem (while a Monarch swarm of butterflies invaded my stomach) to a fairly large audience. I was told by one of the older poets that she liked my reading best.
Also I got a pretty piece of paper. And about $100 worth of poetry books.
Copyright 2016 by Annie Louise Twitchell
Image from New England Frontier Camp Facebook Page