Tag Archives: Lake Superior Magazine

When a legally blind man calls you “Gorgeous”

Life is really super-duper absolutely inarguably funny.

Two days ago I wrote a Farewell for a Little While post.  See ya @ Thanksgiving, readers, because creative fields must lie fallow.  (Oh how Munira and Lisa and I love the word “fallow”.  Isn’t fallow the coolest word?)

I was so happy about my upcoming blogging break.

But the Universe had other plans.

Drum roll, please!

Continue reading

Crooked thoughts & a straight horizon

“When I come up here, and I see that great big straight horizon line, all the crooked thoughts in me straighten out.”

–Reportedly said by Birney Quick about Lake Superior.  Mr. Quick was a painter and founder of the Grand Marais Art Colony, along the northshore of Lake Superior, north of Duluth.  So reports Lake Superior Magazine in an article by Ada Igoe about Minnesota’s Oldest Art Colony.  It’s called “Nurturing Creative Spirits” in case you want to read more.

Yes, Mr. Quick.  I know what you mean.  Just gazing out at that long line on the horizon can calm our crazy crooked upside-down backwards tangled thoughts.  Something bigger than ourselves creeps in and calms us.  The lake has that gift.

I should have taken some photos of Lake Superior this morning on my trip up to the Copper Country.  I should have known this quote would leap out of a magazine and insist upon being repeated in this blog.  But no.  So here are a handful of old photos from 2010. 

Stare at the horizon. If you have any crooked thoughts, see if they straighten up.  See if you’re breathing deeper. 

Red ball, blue lake, long horizon


From atop Bald Mountain: view of the Huron Islands


Kayak to the horizon--and beyond.


At the tip of Point Abbaye beckoning north


"Red sky at night, sailor's delight. Red sky at morning, sailor's take warning."


Oh yes. Not a single confused thought can be found.

I want to live on an island.

View from the Huron Island Lighthouse

Let’s be honest.  Part of me wants to live on an island.  The other parts are completely satisfied living in our Little House in the Big Woods in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

The part that wants to live on an island thrilled to read an article in Lake Superior Magazine last week.  The article “Wintering on the Island” by Madelaine Karwoski shares her life on Madeline Island, Wisconsin.  This island, propped in Lake Superior just off Bayfield, is 14 miles long and four miles across.  It hosts about 300 or so year-long residents.

What a great story Madelaine shared!  I wish I could provide a link so everyone could read it.  She starts by saying “If you live on Madeline Island and you forgot to get fresh mushrooms at the store, fetching that ingredient could cost $37–counting in the full cost of a round trip ferry to the mainfland.  Plus figure it will take a couple of hours if ice slows the crossing…”

Gazing out at the Huron Islands from shore

She’s lived on the island since January, 2007 when she moved north from St. Paul, Minnesota.  She shares about the community on the island–the Mission Hill Coffee shop (which is also Information Central in winter), the ferry liner, the local theater group (the Lake Affected Players!) the local food shelf which is never locked, the choir, the magical Christmas Pageant, and the auspicious date when the ice freezes between the island and the mainland and vehicles can traverse the ice road.

Doesn’t this sound ideal?  Doesn’t this sound like The Life?  To live on an island…it contains a grand mystique.  What is it about this thought that intrigues us and makes us want to move onto our own secluded island complete with a special community?

North Entry Light, Portage Canal, Lake Superior

Two of my blogging friends live on islands.  If you want to learn more about island life please visit Terrill over at Creative Potager.  She lives on Mayne Island, one of the islands off Vancouver.  I nudged her about life on the island last week.  Here is what she summarized:

We have a little over a 1,000 full-time residents here on Mayne Island. Yes we have a grocery store, a bakery, a gas station with DVDs and a post office open half days Mon – Fri. We have a liquor store, a library and a school. We have a health food store, insurance office, Realtor offices, a clothing store, and a hardware store and more. We have a Health centre with a lab on Tuesday morning. We have volunteer fire and ambulance services. We have over a dozen small food farms. We have a bookstore and a home and garden store. To learn more about Mayne Island please have a look at http://www.mayneisland.com/ and as you scroll down you might even see some images that are familiar. Basically we have everything we need.

Bree lives on Mackinac Island during part of the year–a little island between the Upper and Lower Peninsulas.  There are no motorized vehicles on this island which is a popular summer tourist destination.  Mackinac Island has always stirred the souls of those who imagine living there.  Even though Bree winters in southern Georgia, I suspect that part of her never leaves the island.  Her popular Bree’s Mackinac Island Blog attracts hundreds of folks daily who dream of living on the island.

Seaplane arrives at Tobin Harbor, Isle Royale

Island life…it sounds so romantic.  So isolated.  So ideal. 

But would we truly feel this way if we lived on an island?  Would we be content?  Would we begin to feel cloistered, claustrophobic, shut in?  Would we begin to feel cut off from the rest of the world?  Would we long for the convenience of fresh mushrooms at less than $37 a carton?  Would we feel too limited?

I told Barry last week, “I want to live on an island.”

He stared back at me.

“You do live on an island,” he replied,  “Sort of.  What would be better for you if you lived on an island?”

(Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is almost an island because it is mostly surrounded by water.  But not quite.  Land connects us to Wisconsin.  A bridge connects Michigan and Canada.   It does feel like we live on an island–here in the woods–because we’re completely surrounded by trees.  We’ve carved out a little island among the poplar and maple and spruce.)

Moose and calves on Isle Royale

I contemplated this all week.  What would be different if I lived on an island?  What part of island-life intrigues?

I think it is that I would have to learn to be more self-reliant.  To live even more simply.  To be more thoughtful, more contained.  To live on less–or at least to be able to live on less– until the next trip to the mainland. 

Which perhaps is a goal that I could cultivate even more completely in our island on the woods.  Perhaps we wouldn’t need to hop in the car and go out to a restaurant at the first whim.  Or to run to town so easily.  Perhaps growing some deeper roots among the trees might satisfy the part that wants to live on an island.

I want to live on an island. Don't you?

Thanks to my husband, Barry, and Cathy Newland for these photos of Isle Royale and the Huron Islands.

Does anyone else harbor a hidden desire to live on an island?  (It can be just part of you…and you don’t have to move there tomorrow!)

Real Lake Superior Spirit, Fortitude, Sisu & Tenacity

The Huron Bay (between two trees)

 Time to ‘fess up, Readers.  How many miles have you walked at one time?  Have you ever walked five miles?  Ten miles?  An unbelievable twenty miles? 

Please register your all-time record in the comments below.  Mine was five miles on Fort Myers Beach maybe ten years ago.  I walked up the beach from the south end of the island to the north.  Afterward, I ached for two days.  OK, OK, I’m not in the most tip-top physical shape! 

A bay which has recently lost its ice cover

 Tonight I want to share an Inspiring Story with you.  It’s the story of two people who aim to walk 1,800 miles around the shores of Lake Superior starting on April 29th.  Yes, you read that correctly.  Kate Crowley and Mike Link, a husband & wife team from Minnesota, both in their 60′s, will circle around the Big Lake.  Their trip is estimated to take six months. 

Can any one of you readers imagine accomplishing this?  I am so inspired about their Sisu.  (Sisu is the Finnish word for strength of will, perseverance, determination, dedication.  We know that because a lot of Finns have settled around Lake Superior and taught us about the valor of this word.)  

Keweenaw Bay

 There are two ways we can follow their progress.  I discovered about this adventure in Lake Superior Magazine.   This is an absolutely beautiful magazine with incredible photographs of Kitchee-Gami.  (That’s the Ojibway word for Lake Superior.)  Truly, if you ever leaf through this magazine, you will drool at the dancing colors of water, the up-close views of moose and bear, the exquisite shades of leaves in autumn.  

They are helping sponsor the 1,800 mile adventure.  Every month we’ll get updates about the progress of the two hikers.  

Our other option is to visit their website:  Full Circle:  A Journey Around the Greatest Lake.  Today it says:  34 days until countdown.  

Stones underfoot--hard walking

 They plan to stay as close to the shore as possible as they circumvent the lake.  They are both naturalists, interested not only in the adventure, but also in educating others.  Therefore, they have a second important goal:  to record the flora and fauna that exists in 2010 around the shore of the lake.  This kind of information was recorded a century ago, but there have been many climate and landscape changes since then.  

Won’t it be interesting to see what differences and similarities they discover? 

Remnants of ice along the shore

 Want to know some other fascinating statistics published in the Lake Superior magazine?  Let’s say that you decided to walk 1,800 miles south from Marquette, Michigan.  You know where you’d end up?  Cozumel, Mexico.  (That’s how far they’re walking, folks!) 

Free and clear of ice, the waves lap against the shore

 I am suddenly thinking my five-mile lifetime expedition should be upped a bit.  Maybe to seven miles?  What do you think? YIKES–Why did I just write that??

My other thought is:  it would be fun shout “hello!” or even stop by talk to Kate and Mike when they’re navigating next to the Huron or Keweenaw Bay sometime next summer or fall.  I could even tell you guys about it. 

Anyway, just wanting to wish the couple GOOD LUCK! and safe and enjoyable hiking around our beautiful lake.  They truly have Lake Superior Spirit.  We’re cheering them on from the sidelines!