Tag Archives: Huron Bay

Autumn colors turn, turn, turn

Fog and autumn colors

Fog and autumn colors

Lisa and I had to meet this morning at the Access Site to “exchange the goods”.

No, dear readers, it was not a drug deal.

We needed to accomplish our monthly switcheroo.  I gave her the township’s pin drive.  As many of you know, I am the treasurer.  She is the clerk.  Through the miracle of modern technology we both work on QuickBooks, yet must exchange our files to update our computers.

I brought the camera and, um, sorry Lisa, made her wait five extra minutes at the Access Site while snapping these two fog pictures.

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Native American Flute Blessing

The way sound swirls in the dark

The way sound swirls in the dark

Last night, in the early hours before midnight, traveling silently through the dark house, I heard a strange sound.

Coyotes singing?

Owls crooning?

Wind danced through the trees, blowing yellow leaves onto the earth.  Wind’s melody crescendoed everywhere, but what else?  What other sound sifted through closed windows, teased bright stars gleaming between clouds?

I opened the bathroom window and listened.

A quarter mile away laps the Huron Bay.  Some music-lover, some kokopelli, some wild soul, threw wide the door to his heart and music reverberated across the waters.  In stereo trilled the beckoning notes, urging us to follow.

Native American flute music-so loud you could almost reach out and touch its liquid mournful joy–serenaded us all.

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Spring buds on the maple trees

Spring buds on the maple trees

This week’s photo challenge at WordPress is:  Escape.

Just wanted to let you know.  We’ve finally busted out of winter here in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula after almost seven months.

We’ve successfully escaped.

We can only hope someone hid the keys of that winter jailor…

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By the shores of Gitche Gumee, by the shining Big Sea water…

Light in the forest

Thanks for the amazing support for yesterday’s story about My Enemy.  You readers know how to make this wanna-be storyteller feel good!

Today we’ll change the pace.

I’ll show you some pictures from a magical wonderful delightful hike that my son, Christopher, and I took last week.

Are you ready?  Let’s explore the shores of Gitche Gumee, or shining Big Sea Water, as Longfellow called our Lake Superior.

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Pause quietly on this blog and breathe deeply…

Reflections at the Eagle Pond

More pond & cloud reflections

A stump bigger than three medium-sized blog readers with teenage trees growing upward.

Simply reeds

Forest stream

Tree growing sideways over Lake Superior

Leaves and water in sepia

Bald eagle's white tail feather

Bald eagle missing one white tail feather (Don't quit breathing deeply--another one will grow back!)

Eagle in sepia. (Now don't quit breathing deeply...keep breathing...deep breathing...as you click your mouse into the next moment...)

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.

Eyes in the woods

There are Eyes in the Woods.

Branch in the woods…claw in the woods?
Spring song of pussywillows
Veil of trees in the dim underworld of the woods
Tiny unfurling lupine. Not much bigger than your thumb.
Last year’s green spruce needles in this year’s spring puddle
Last autumn’s reeds draped against sticks in puddle
Tree and sky reflections in puddle
Stream at dusk

Reader, shall we walk through the woods?  Shall we amble up that hillock and down that ravine?  Shall we sit awhile on the damp soil, our jeans getting slightly wet?

What shall we hear at 7:30 p.m. in the Upper Peninsula Woods?

Can you hear that sweet-trilling bird song?  Why do the birds sing the sweetest in the springtime?  Is it because they are singing their hearts out for their true love?

Do you hear the Canadian geese honking in the distance as they wing north?  Can you discern how some of them are resting down on the Huron Bay, gathering energy before spreading wings upward tomorrow?

Did you hear that owl hoot, way to the north?  Or was that the sound of neighbor’s children, pretending?

The woods are alive with sound, a cacophony of noise surrounded by deep silence.  You can feel the silence everywhere.  You can also hear the sounds of spring peepers in some of the vernal pools.  You can hear chipmunks scurry in dried autumn leaves.  You wait for a deer or raccoon or bear to pass by your damp resting-place, but none appears.

We are so fortunate to have light at 7:30 p.m. at this time of year.  It’s still light at 8:30 p.m.  It’s dark at 9:30 p.m.

The woods run with streams and puddles everywhere.  Walk carefully.  Do not slip and tumble against the earth! 

There are eyes in the woods following you wherever you go.  If that worries you, stay out of the woods.  If you want to know the eyes better, if you want to find out what treasures they hide, keep walking.

Spring in the woods is a gift.  No mosquitoes.  No black flies.  No wood ticks.  Those creatures are still sleeping, or only blinking their slumbering eyes.

The woods are a haven that helps us breathe slower, deeper, fresher.  Silence percolates between our thoughts. 

The woods revives and heals, a magic of loamy soil and tall aspen.  It is better than your daily vitamin, better than the doctor’s chemical prescription.

Have you had your healing dose of nature today?  The eyes in the woods want to know.

An eagle-eye view of Lake Superior in mid-winter

Huron Bay--looking down the bay. See our house way down there on the right? lol!

Barry’s ice fishing buddy, Mike Roth, took these photos of Lake Superior last Wednesday.  I feel like he’s our Roving Correspondent in the Air as he shared these aerial photos last winter.

Point Abbaye, Huron Islands, Huron Mountains

Mike owns a small two-seater plane and likes to fly up above our Keweenaw and Huron Bays.   He likes to gauge where the ice ends.

Keweenaw Bay

I would like to report that these photos are the latest up-to-the-moment ice conditions in our area.  But that simply isn’t true.

Here’s what happened.  On Friday, wicked winds blew in at a clip of 40-60 miles per hour.  Wind is not friendly to the newly-formed ice.  It blew beneath the fragile ends and distributed it much further out in the lake. 

On Sunday, the wind rose again and blew 30 mph gusts.  The ice heaved and splintered and broke off some more.

One of Barry’s other ice fishing buddies, Nancy, declared the end of ice fishing on Keweenaw Bay on Sunday.  She was ready to quit.

However, last night Barry heard the distant humming and thumping of ice forming once again on Huron Bay.  I think it’s a little too early to pack up the augers and ice tents and sled.

(Although–this just in!–overnight the ice on Keweenaw Bay broke up all the way into L’Anse.  This isn’t lookin’ good, fisherfolk…  Many tents and shacks are now floating on icebergs…)

Keweenaw Bay again

I like to look at these photos and imagine the eagles flying above the bays.  To imagine their swoop downward toward the water. 

What a wide vista we see from above!  Suddenly our world seems much larger, much clearer, more expansive.  We see for miles and miles and miles.

Sometimes our little challenges and problems become less important as we contemplate the Larger View. 

Don’t you agree?

Baraga's "Shanty Town" (see all the ice shacks of the fisherfolk?)

Winter Stories of Lake Superior

Bench overlooking Keweenaw Bay

You can’t be part of a 30-day Gratitude Challenge around here without feeling gratitude for this place where we live.  Feeling gratitude for the woods.  For the million trees.  For the deer and bear and squirrels hunkering down in the forest as the temperature dips near zero.

Feeling gratitude for the Big Lake, for Gitchee-Gumi.  For our freezing Lake Superior, donning her winter-cloak of ice.

Ice forming

Lake Superior, as many of you already know, is the world’s largest freshwater lake.  It extends 350 miles in length and 160 miles in width and plunges to depths over 1,300 feet.

Sometimes we forget that the ecosystem in which we live informs us in so many ways.  Years ago, my husband and I moved to Texas for a short stint.  (I swear I should tell you that story one of these years.) 

You know what suddenly became clear?  I had grown up nurtured by the breezes of the Great Lakes.  They were so “normal” to me that I never ever noticed their continual refreshing presence–until moving to the middle of Texas.

My body physically felt parched, like something was missing.  The breezes were as much a part of my body as the desert dryness is part of those who live in the western part of the U.S.

"First Sand Beach"

Years ago, an Anishinabe (Ojibway) woman gestured out toward Lake Superior.

“Can you see the spirit out there?”  she asked.

I looked at the endless waves pounding against the shore.  The deep blue in the middle of the bay.  You could almost feel something–but I didn’t know what to say.  I remained silent.

Another native elder once advised, “You have to respect that spirit in the lake.  Give it offerings in appreciation for what it gives us.”

Spirit of winter tree

I hoped to take sunny photos of Lake Superior for you, but the sun refuses to cooperate.  It’s January in the Upper Peninsula.  It’s gray.  Gray informs everything.  The black and white world keeps our focus inward, as we try to stay warm. 

Ice never forms the same way twice.

The fishermen (including my husband) are tempting whitefish and burbot and lake trout on the Huron Bay.  They sit in their little shacks and thread sucker or smelt on silver hooks.  They lower the bait into the frigid water and wait. 

We haven’t eaten any fresh fish yet…but Barry says Sunday looks like a good day. The lemon pepper sauce is waiting patiently in the frig.

Ice heaves, thrusts upwards.

You can’t imagine how cold it was when I took these photos earlier in the week!  The kind of cold in which one rushes, breathless, through the icy morning toward the lake.  The wind attempted to throw you back into your car.  You persevered.  You waded through two feet of snow (in your short boots, darn it!) toward the beach.  Once on the beach, the howling north wind-swept the sand almost clean in places.

Wind from the lake blows the snow away at "Second Sand Beach"

Did you know that the Anishinabe word for “spirit” and “story” is the same?  The word is Adizokan.  Everything in the world has a story to tell us:  the howling wind, the icy lake, the twigs and branches lying in the sand.

We can rush by with our busy schedules, or we can pause to listen.

Frozen Huron Bay as it appears through the trees

Sometimes at night you can hear loud booms from Lake Superior as the ice cracks and forms.  Sometimes it can wake you from deep sleep. 

“It’s just the ice down on the bay,” you murmur, and roll over, pulling the quilts closer.

In a few weeks, the fishermen will cast their bait 220 feet into the big lake. 

By the end of the month, adventuresome souls will jump into a hole cut in the ice up on the Portage Canal.  Celebrating the spirit of Heikinpaiva (when the bear rolls over in his den) they will briefly join the spirit of the lake for a frigid communion. 

No, readers, I shall not.

More ice every day.

It’s good to pause by Lake Superior and feel gratitude for its endless spirit, its endless stories.

The Anishinabe say winter is the time for telling stories.

Thank you for listening.

Anyone want to go for a walk after dinner? How ’bout down to the lake?

Ripples in sepia

Ripples in blue


Reeds in Lake Superior

Reeds at sunset

Didn’t we have a nice walk down to the lake?  Didn’t we catch up on our lives?  Didn’t we connect? 

Aren’t we glad that dog didn’t attack us?

Wasn’t the evening beautiful? 

Didn’t we enjoy the way the waves lapped against the shore?  The way the inland tides receded out, then blocked our path along the lake?

Don’t we feel closer to one another?

Won’t the memories of our evening walk along the lake nourish us through the upcoming year? 

Will we remember our walk years later?

Will we remember the way the wind blew gently across the lake, rippling into our hearts?

Will we ever forget?