LAKEVIEW — The milky-white whorls of October mist holding court over the early-morning waters of Tamarack Lake are a thing of beauty and an endless fascination for those lucky enough to live there. Deep in the low-lying fog, images of mythical beasts, unicorns, maybe, are easily conjured into existence and the imagination runs free, untethered from the dull pragmatism of real life.
For the geese who call the lake home during the summer months, the fog also signals the time to move on has come. The south beckons with its siren song and the long flight to warmer climes waits close at hand.
It is from this annual autumnal ritual that local author Dallas Lincoln drew inspiration for his most recent children’s book, “Gladys, the Tamarack Goose (That was Left Behind).”
“Gladys” is Lincoln’s fourth book, all of which have so far been geared toward children.
“I had the idea for ‘Gladys’ for a long time,” Lincoln said. “We’ve lived on Tamarack Lake a long time and every year we have a huge influx of Canadian geese, they come in by the hundreds. But by late October, when the water is still warmer than the air, we have all this mist out there and it seems there’s always one goose that can’t fly out with the rest because of some sort of injury. She floats around honking very forlornly, because she’s been left behind.”
Lincoln pondered the fate of the geese that are regularly left when the rest of the flock flies south.
“I know she’s not going to survive the winter,” Lincoln said. “Even if a dog or hunter doesn’t get her, something’s going to happen to her eventually.”
“Gladys” is Lincoln’s fictionalized account of one goose’s adventures without her flock. Though the overall message of the book is one of hope and perseverance, Lincoln admits parts of the story are a bit darker than some modern, mainstream children’s books.
“I grew up with fairy tales from the Brothers Grimm,” Lincoln said. “Some of those classic stories were pretty dark. Probably some of that made it into my book.”
The book features beautiful, full-color illustrations by Fremont artist Renae Wallace. Lincoln commissioned Wallace’s drawings after seeing her work in the book of a fellow author.
“We had a couple meetings so she could read the story and I could describe the characters to her,” Lincoln said. “Then I just turned her loose and what you see in the book is what she came up with.”
“Gladys” is available at The Peddler’s Patch in Lakeview and Robbins Book List in Greenville.
According to Robbins’ manager Kevin Powell, Robbins carries more 100 titles by local authors.
“We just got in Mr. Lincoln’s most recent book,” Powell said. “We also carry a couple of his earlier books.”
Those earlier stories include three historically-based fictionalized accounts of the Lakeview area, “Eagle Feather and Louise,” “The Sawmill Santa” and “Big Jim and the Tamarack Queen.”
According to Lincoln, he has at least three other manuscripts ready for publication, including a sequel to “Gladys.”
“I’m semi-retired now,” he said. “I don’t fish, I gave up hunting, I don’t have any hobbies. To keep myself occupied and out of trouble, I thought I’d sit down and write up the stories in my head.”
Having lived his entire life in Lakeview, as did his father and his father’s father before him, it’s only natural that Lincoln’s stories focus on that bucolic village.
With “Gladys,” Lincoln carries on what, for him, is becoming a most agreeable tradition.