Sunday, July 17th was Lake Superior Day and the Big Lake was quiet with fog rolling in… This week my blog posts are dedicated to Lake Superior. (A lot of it is about Lake Superior anyway, Spirit of Place ~Place of Spirit)
Maybe you’ve never heard of Lake Superior, maybe you have never been there. Have you heard the song “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald”? The video will show you another of Superior’s ever changing moods.
Gitcheegama, as the Ojibwe call it, is the largest fresh water lake on the planet. It contains 10% of ALL of the world’s fresh water – in this one place! Its coastline is 1,826 miles long and is shared by the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan and the Canadian Province of Ontario. It is old, very old, and the rocks and stones that line its fabulous beaches, even older. Lake Superior is breathtakingly beautiful and because of its depth, the lake is also breathtakingly cold!
The first time I waded into Lake Superior, it literally took my breath away. Late one August, when the lake was at its warmest, following a whole summer of heating, I naively stepped into its crystal clear water, just up to my knees. After about 1 minute, every bone in my legs ached, my teeth hurt, my body tightened, and I quickly retreated to the warmth of the sand. That was in the late 1960’s.
Today, the Lake becomes so warm in mid-summer, near the edges, at least, that one can wade fairly comfortably. In 2007, the Lake level dropped 18 inches. Shipping was greatly affected. Ships using the Great Lakes had to reduce their loads in order to make passage through much shallower channels. The cost of running the ships with smaller loads remained constant, affecting the prices paid for things you may use, wherever you are in the world.
What happens on, in and around Lake Superior affects everyone. We are all connected… water knows no boundaries. It is the rain, the rivers, the streams, in the clouds and it is always moving, even when it seems frozen.
In 2010, some friends walked the entire circumference of Lake Superior. Retired naturalists Mike Link and Kate Crowley hiked 1500+ miles around the shore. They spent four and a half months walking, camping and through the miraculous wonders of technology, documenting their adventure. You can see more of the moods and wonders of Lake Superior through their lenses here: Full Circle Superior. I was honored to walk a few miles with them on this adventure.
Sometime today, or this week, when you take that sip of refreshing water, bottled or from your tap, please make a toast to celebrate Lake Superior. You are probably drinking a drop or at least a molecule of Lake Superior water.
Namaste ~ Star Bear, who lives near the Big Lake and loves it!