“The” Lake; my lake

Probably I will always be writing about Lake Superior. There’s a saying I read somewhere, though I can’t remember where, that there are two types of travelers.

There are people who go to a place, have a good time, then move on out to the next adventure. They look for new experiences, like pushing pins into a map. That’s one type of traveller.

The other type is the people who keep returning to the same places, habitually. They get attached to places or ideas, a little transfixed. I think probably I am this type of traveller.

I get hung up; I never know as much as I want to about a place or region or country. I was here in the Apostle Islands for almost four months in 2018; that still didn’t feel like enough. I haven’t been to every island, and I haven’t poked around every shoreline. Probably it will never feel like enough.

This summer I considered going somewhere else, experiencing a new place, and maybe I’d still like to do that, but it worked out that I had a chance to come back to the Apostle Islands, and it all sort of clicked and felt right that I could come back here.

Madeline Island in the distance

I won’t get a chance to do the summer camps I was planning in Armenia this summer, due to Peace Corps worldwide evacuation, but it did give me a chance to come and sea kayak on Lake Superior for another season and work as a guide.

I honestly didn’t really think I would have a chance to seriously get into sea kayaking or guiding again. Until March, I sort of imagined it would be Peace Corps Armenia until 2021, then either more teaching abroad or grad school. Now I’m not so sure, and that’s okay.

I guess also I have been exhausted and I have not have a whole lot left in me for writing lately. Not exhausted in a bad way– exhausted in the strong, using my body every day way, and busy.

I have trouble writing about places without also writing about my relationship to them.

I love Lake Superior, a stupid amount. Similar to how I loved the soft outline of Mount Ararat and the red desert hills in Armenia; similar to how I love the woods and bright green lakes that dot Northern Michigan. I love it like a home I chose.

I completely love Lake Superior, even as I choke up mouthfuls of freshwater, even as a shelf of dark clouds barrels across the islands and I feel insignificant and a little stupid. Maybe especially I love Lake Superior then. On glassy pink nights with the whole sky like water, and on days where the wind kicks up the water all bright green and churning. That powerful drum and echo of water pounding at the backs of caves.

Lake Superior storm

Then there is a sort of mine-ness to the lake. Or more not to the Lake itself, but to all the experiences I have had on it. You know how sometimes, when you’re the only one who sees something it was sort of for you? Not necessarily the place, but the moment feels very much yours.

We don’t really get to keep places, they sort of are subject to their own time; they change and mean different things to different people simultaneously. But when you have an experience, or see something kind of incredible, whether or not you decide to share it that moment is something you get to keep, and yours.

There’s something of that in the Lake for me.

One thought on ““The” Lake; my lake

  1. Enjoyed your writing, Maddy, always do. Being near water is relaxing and good for thinking. I know you will decide soon regarding future plans. Love you, Grandma Pat

    Liked by 1 person

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