“A normal lake is knowable. A Great Lake can hold all the mysteries of an ocean, and then some.” ― Dan Egan, The Death and Life of the Great Lakes
“A lake is the landscape’s most beautiful and expressive feature. It is earth’s eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature.” ― Henry David Thoreau
“A lake carries you into recesses of feeling otherwise impenetrable.” ― William Wordsworth
When Tina invited me to delve into my photo archives for a look at something All Wet, I immediately thought of Lake Michigan.
This truly Great Lake is an old friend. I have visited its shores while living in Illinois and Wisconsin and while vacationing in Michigan and Indiana. I have been to the northernmost shore and the southernmost. It always impresses me with its size.
Four generations of my family have submerged themselves in its waters. I knew it as a playground when I was a little girl. I worked in a museum on its shores half a century later and came to know more of its power and importance.
I find it unfathomable in every sense because there’s so much to know and imagine about its history, its living presence, and its intricate and moody details. I will leave you with a gallery of images to peak your curiosity.
It just so happens that I spent two hours sailing aboard the S/V Denis Sullivan today; some of that time was used to photograph rope. I also hauled line to help hoist the sails….not that it did much good to have the sails up. It was quite still and foggy. There was barely a ripple on Lake Michigan. It was quiet and peaceful and echo-ey and atmospheric. And humid. The sun broke through the fog just as we were coming back to the pier. Steve was imagining what it would be like to be truly adrift in the doldrums. The Sullivan was equipped with a motor as well, so we had no chance of being stranded. But if we were living in the 19th century…well, we’d get back when we got back. We would travel at the speed of one frayed knot.
The Weekly Photo Challenge prompt posted today says: “This week, share a photo that has a little something extra: an unexpected visitor, or a tranquil landscape with a splash of color. A lone carrot in a sea of peas. Draw us in with a humorous detail, or find a photo with an added element that makes it an image only you could capture.”
(If you click on the photo, it should open in a larger window for a more panoramic view.)
The significance of this photo has many levels. Someone just visiting this blog for the first time might see a nice composition of natural scenery and a person enjoying it. Very pleasant. Someone who knows this blog a little better might recognize the person as Steve, my partner, who shows up in many of my photos. Someone who knows my history might recognize the Wisconsin shore of Lake Michigan, opposite my grandmother’s beach cottage where I spent many childhood summers, and understand the sentimental attachment I have to this particular body of water. Only Steve & I know the thought that prompted him to sit in this place, the person he is memorializing as he pauses on our walk. The invisible figure in this photo is Steve’s father, Stanley.
I never met Stanley. He died one month before I first encountered Steve. I have been introduced to him many times in concept and story, however. Stanley was a gentle person, a father who did not assert his authority or enforce many rules. Steve sometimes describes him as “passive resistant”, but his assessment is one of understanding and acceptance rather than judgment. Stanley enjoyed going slowly through life, enjoying simple pleasures and quiet places. He worked many years in the US Postal Service and traveled with his family in his own whimsical way. Taking a cigarette break was a frequent excuse to absent himself from the social gathering at hand to enjoy a peaceful moment. When Steve saw this bench along the nature trail at Kohler-Andrae State Park, he said, “This is just the kind of place my father would like.” He sat down. I walked down the path to allow him some private time with his dad, and snapped this photo.
Happy Father’s Day, Stanley. Thanks for being the person you were and for all you did to make Steve the person he is. Well done, sir.