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.

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
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36 Responses to Crooked thoughts & a straight horizon

  1. Brenda Hardie says:

    Kathy! Love it love it love it! Lake Superior has that effect on me every time..just sitting there looking at the forever expanse of that beautiful blue lake makes everything all better! Oh how I want to go back! Thank for the pictures…they help when I can’t actually be there in person. You’re an angel of the north! 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      I dunno about being an angel of the north, Brenda. How about we call Lake Superior the angel of the north? And if she’s an angel, she’s a cold one. Brrr…. The thought of sticking toes in her in April can give you the shivers! I hope you get to come back soon. If not, she’ll visit you in your dreams.

  2. Susan Derozier says:

    Ah – Return to my soul source in beautiful Lake Superior. For the 15 years I lived in Superior, I drove up the north shore of the lake nearly every weekend, winter or summer. It never disappointed. ‘Never failed to lift me, fill me, renew me. Thank you for my “fix” with all your beautiful pictures!

    • Kathy says:

      Susan, I am delighted to give you your northern lake “fix”. Your northern woods “fix”. May your spirit be renewed by these northern memories, and hey, maybe you’ll even move back up someday. 🙂

  3. Sybil says:

    I take it the floating feet shot wasn’t taken this year. 😉

    • Kathy says:

      Heck no, Sybil! last August. Or maybe July. The only two months of the year when the lake is warm enough. Except for children. Children have been known to swim at Memorial Day. Not this year, I suspect!

  4. Elisa's Spot says:

    OOOOOOOOOOOoooo remembering when Kathy swam in the lake no matter what!

    Thinking some smarty-pants words about liking spirals, but might be nearly as bad as using the word patience (shhhh look away quickly maybe no one heard it).

    • Elisa's Spot says:

      There was a crooked man and he walked a crooked mile,
      He found a crooked sixpence upon a crooked stile.
      He bought a crooked cat, which caught a crooked mouse.
      And they all lived together in a little crooked house

    • Kathy says:

      This cold lake has tested my courage many many times. Sometimes I tried, really tried, but ran like a chicken back to the sandy beach and said, “no, no. I will NOT swim!” Other courageous souls made it into the water and did not die. lol! Very cold lake. Nice horizon, but cold water.

  5. Karma says:

    I’ve never seen any of the Great Lakes in person ( I need to remedy that some day) but I know the feeling you mean. I call it my “over the bridge” feeling – the feeling I get when I get over the bridge either to Cape Cod or into Maine. Aaaaaaahhhhhhhhh…..

    • Kathy says:

      I love the ocean as much–or more–no, no, I will not say “more”–than the Great Lakes. They are all so unique. The flowing waters bring peace and freedom. I should say your Cape Cod or Maine brings exactly the same feelings.

  6. Susan D says:

    Mr. Quick’s quote just says it all re: looking out at the horizon! It’s wonderful to revisit some of my favorite photos of yours that “say it all.” I’m so glad you shared them with us again. Ahhhh. I have to have “endless water” horizons to gaze at, I’ve decided. Born on the shore of Lake Michigan and a lifetime of looking at the gulf or oceans have rendered me insane when I can’t sometimes replenish at the feet of large bodies of water that seem to straighten out those crooked thoughts. So fortunate am I!

    • Kathy says:

      I am glad you have remembered some of these pictures! (All of them? You are such a good reader. And with such a memory, too!) You are lucky that you can walk out your door and within a short while find yourself gazing out at the horizon. No. You would be gazing toward L’Anse and Aura, wouldn’t you? smile. You would have to walk down to the shore and gaze to the north. I remember when we lived in Texas. No lake breezes. That’s when I realized the lakes were in my bloodstream–and I never even knew it.

  7. Now THIS is the kind of place where I could relax and breathe deeply! Beautiful!! 🙂

  8. Dad says:

    Kathy—-I would know those feet anywhere! Dad

  9. Dawn says:

    Breathing deeply now. Remembering the horizon from a long time ago…

    • Kathy says:

      Glad that you are breathing deeply. You just reminded me of Lake Huron’s horizon. We had a cottage in Forestville near Harbor Beach when I was growing up. I remember going to sleep hearing the foghorns in the distance. exquisite!

  10. Diva Carla says:

    Kathy are those your current feet? Is is already warm enough to float in Lake Superior, after it snowed last week?

    • Kathy says:

      They are my current feet, Carla, but not this current Lake Superior. lol! I am not as dedicated swimmer as you and will not even contemplate soaking in the lake until July and August. This photo was taken during one of those sultry days last year. The lake won’t even be warm enough to consider inserting a big toe until then.

  11. holessence says:

    Ohhhhhhhhh, that last shot is amazing!!!!!

  12. Jan says:

    At the tip of Point Abbaye is for me the best photograph. I love it!
    And, Kathy, I am already breathing deeper! Thank you!

  13. jeff v says:

    The horizon is a point of reference for pilots and mariners. I think it also serves the same purpose for casual observers. As always , nice pics. I have a similar shot from Bald Mntn. taken while geocaching. what a fantastic spot!

    • Kathy says:

      You guys like to geocache, Jeff? I have heard that is great fun. Isn’t it fun when we see a photograph from a remote spot and know we have a similar one?

      • jeff v says:

        Yes Kathy, geocaching is a lot of fun, it gets you to places that you otherwise wouldn’t go. Google the word and you will find several caches in the area. all you need is a GPS receiver or a phone with GPS capability. Sounds like we better bring plenty of bug dope for the ticks!

  14. Robin says:

    Thank you. That’s all. Just… thank you. 😀

  15. Marianne says:

    Nice view from Bald Mountain! I love a sandy beach, nice shot.

  16. Colleen says:

    Yes, my breathing slows and my vision somehow relaxes and becomes clearer. Have always loved horizons, seemingly endless expanses where there is room to breath and spread out….

    Maybe from growing up in almost-prairie country and later living by the ocean.

    Very nice toes 🙂

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