Lake Superior, ON - Robert Laverne
My Watermark is Lake Superior.
The body of water that has inspired me the most is undoubtedly Lake Superior. I grew up in Detroit in the 50’s and 60’s. My first look at Lake Superior was in the summer of 1973 when two friends and I decided to hike on Isle Royale. I had never been that far north before. I had never been that far beautiful before.
I remember standing on the shore of Lake Superior waiting to board the boat that would carry us to the island. I couldn’t help but stare at the surface of the water reflecting the richly saturated blue-like-I-had-never-seen-blue sky. How could this be? My eyes had never been bathed in colors and detail so rich.
The trip to Isle Royale was pretty rough and waves as tall as 8 feet rocked my stomach as it had never been churned before, and yet the sky was still blue and clean. How could this be? The power of Superior and the sometimes tragic history of ships on this mighty lake make the need for lighthouses readily apparent.
That first trip to the Keweenaw Peninsula and Isle Royale set my future in stone like copper ore in granite. I enrolled at Michigan Tech to study forestry. And oh, the magnificent trees in that Superior land! That first winter of ‘78-’79 we got over 350 inches of snow. And it quickly became apparent how much Lake Superior directs the movement of the seasons. If you are so inclined, and let down your guard, it is easy to fall in love with a Superior winter. It took a bit of time, but spring arrived, and the rivers got to work on returning to Superior what was hers.
As a forester I’m inclined to say that the lake drives the regional hydrological cycle. But I think that misses something. I see it more as Superior exhaling to the clouds. The lake gives of itself to the sky for the benefit of the surrounding land. And if you are lucky, and up on a high vantage point, you can watch the rain coming and hear the thunder rolling well before the rain arrives. And when it arrives the plants take notice. So many plants. So many trees, all nourished by the water of the lake in some fashion or form. And when the plants have been quenched the surplus water finds it way to the streams, and the water again finds its way back to Superior.
The land around the lake itself seems to breathe. The breath rises and finds the clouds and the cycle of Superior sharing her wealth with the land, and the plants, and the animals, and with us begins again.
There seems to be an intimate marriage between the land and the lake – between the terrestrial life and the aquatic circulatory system of clouds, streams, bogs and always mother Superior. And at times it simply seems like Superior is reflecting Heaven.
I usually use the word love sparingly, and then only for what is shared between humans, but I pretty much love this Superior lake and the land that embraces it.