By the Shores of Silver Lake Book Discussion - Silver Lake
Before the sun rose the next morning Laura was down by the shallow well near Silver Lake. The lake laid like a sheet of silver amongst all the tall wild grasses. The waterfowl beginning to squawk as the sun rose over the eastern edge. Laura pulled the pail up from the well and hurried with it back to the shanty.
Their new shanty stood alone on the shore of the lake. It was just south of the cluster of grader shanties. Ma was waiting for Laura when she had returned. "You should have seen the sunrise," Laura exclaimed as she quickly began helping her Ma with breakfast. She knew she should have rushed along; they had a busy day ahead of them. That morning they aired out cousin Louisa's beds and then stuffed Ma's ticking mattresses with fresh clean hay. Ma purchased yards of calico and made curtains for the windows. She then made a larger curtain and hung it between the beds, creating separate bedrooms for the girls and them. When Pa came to dinner he was very pleased with their efforts.
After dinner Laura made it known that she wanted to go for a walk to look at the camp. Observing Ma's disapproval, Pa warned the girls not to go near where the men were working and told them they had to be back home before the men came in for the night. Pa said there were some rough looking men who used rough language. Everybody but Laura seemed frightened by this; for once she would have liked to have heard some of that language.
On their walk Laura, Mary and Carrie strolled along the shoreline of the silver water toward the wild Big Slough. Thousands of wild ducks, geese, herons, cranes and pelicans were heard all around them feeding and nesting in the tall grasses. Pushing further into the Big Slough their bare feet sank slowly into ooze. The soft cool muck sucked around their ankles and little ponds glimmered amongst the tall grasses. Laura wanted to go further but Mary and Carrie wanted to retreat back to higher prairie ground. "Oh what a wild beautiful prairie," Mary sighed.
It would be late afternoon when they returned back to the shanty. They could see the whole camp scattered along the lake shore just north of where they were. Then for the first time Laura saw a house. They would ask Pa about it and find out who lived there. The railroad men were making a racket as they returned to camp from their work and flocks of ducks and geese were coming down from the sky to sleep for the night on Silver Lake. Ma stood in the doorway watching for them.