Peering through old barbed wire to see Lake Superior

Peering through old barbed wire to see Lake Superior

What to do today?  A strong impulse arose to visit our Lake Superior and discover if the ice has melted.  More specifically:  to see what winter washed up upon the shore.  It’s like nature’s flea market or rummage sale.  You never know what treasures you’ll find!

I drove two roads up and one road over.  Slowly puttered down toward the Keweenaw Bay, meeting two women-walkers.  We arrived at the water’s edge (or shall I say the ice edge?) at the same time.  We briefly discussed the weather, photography and walking .  They lamented walking back up the hill, wondering if they’d make it.  I offered to pick them up on my way home if they didn’t.

Sacred view

Sacred view (I did not stack those rocks)

I tiptoed out on the ice and rocks.  Oh, watch it!  Those rocks are surprisingly slippery.  You think they’re dry, but some of them are coated with a fine layer of nearly-invisible ice.  Let’s not fall in.  Please.

A wave of pleasure, back here on the shore, hunting for treasures.  And what’s the usual abundant treasure?  Rocks.  Stones.  Lots of them.  In every shape and form.  In every style and texture.  What beauty!  Even on this gray early-spring day, the rocks were already telling stories of their wintering. 

Look at this one.  Just imagine the story it’s sharing with us.  (Doesn’t it look sort of like a lopsided heart?  Could it be telling us, “I love you?”)

Lake Superior stone

Lake Superior stone

It felt too chilly to simply sit on the shore and gaze dreamily into the Great Lake.  Besides being too cold, very few areas looked dry.  I stepped cautiously here and there, peering deeply, turning the camera angle to capture some of the shore’s delights. 

So here’s the scene, if you haven’t figured it out photographically.  As you approach the lake, you witness the layer of rocks.  They’re not everywhere, as snow still covers the majority of the “beach”.  Out further, between water and rocks, exists a layer of snow and ice.  It’s thinking about melting and disappearing.  It hasn’t decided.  It’s weighing its options.  “Should I stay or should I go?”  It didn’t ask my advice, but it probably knew I was opting for its departure.  That’s probably why it sprayed the rocks with ice and almost sent me sprawling…

Now, you want to know about the magical world which exists just upward from the exposed shore?  I can’t believe I’m sharing this with you.  But here goes.  This place is so beautiful it astounds the rock-hunter.  Greenery everywhere!  And this exists year-round.  Shhh…it’s a secret known only to the dedicated searcher.

Beautiful green hidden shoreline world

Beautiful green hidden shoreline world

But you can’t stay in the enchanted forest forever, so you find your way back to the rocks, wondering if you’ll stay upright.  You inch your way back toward the road and car, pausing to truly see Gitchee Gumee (the name for our cold deep-water Great Lake, as coined by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in The Song of Hiawatha.) The real Annishnabe name is Gichigami which means “big water”.  Close enough, I suppose. 

There’s still some iceberg remnants floating out there, but they declined being photographed.  A fallen and rotting birch tree, instead, asked to have its picture taken.

A downed birch fellow rests among the rocks and snow

A downed birch fellow rests among the rocks and snow

And finally, because so many photos are clamouring “include me!  include me!” shall we honor the rocks one more time?  We’ll be back later in the summer to see how they’re doing and what other treasures exists beneath all that snow and ice.  Summer? What am I talking about?  We’ll be back this spring!

Rocks and more rocks...waiting for the snow to melt

Rocks and more rocks...waiting for the snow to melt

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