October 10, 2012 by LeVoyageur
There’s a stretch of beach up north, in Michigan, where the lake is very wide, expanding into a vast horizon where blue meets blue, and sky and water become one to the eye. It’s a windswept place where the waves come lapping in on calm Summer days off the deep waters, glimmering like silver in the light. Come Fall, the waves are crashing in as the season’s change riles the lake in its depths, and the waters turn cold and grey.
Here where the day is passed in solitude, far from the highway, far from the little towns that dot the map of northern Michigan, nature pays no heed to man. In my mind’s eye, I see seasons past: a blurry picture of my family, on an early Autumn day. The wind whips our hair and jackets as we comb the beach for shells and coins: unknown mint marks, loose change, forgotten.
It is a beach protected from the world, to which the lake delivers naught but sound and driftwood. Birds shelter behind a softened, sodden tree laying on the shore. Fallen from the wild edge, it was smoothed in the sweet waters and returned, to become a new habitation as it decays into the sand.
Gathering clouds and the wild wind do not stop at the water’s edge. It is only the passage of this weather that will bring the season to its close. Here in Autumn, even now, a hint of Winter steals in on the chill breeze. As child I could not imagine the changes that would come. I did not see the frozen waters or feel the icy gales bearing down.
Is the ship in the distance aware of how small it is? Standing on the shore, we are smaller still. This long beach and cold water, it is a magnificent boundary, where mist rises up like a veil. We could just as well be at a telescope peering deep into the cosmos. This is the majesty in nature. What fate to stand here, to witness the seasons change, to feel the wind against you, an unceasing reminder of nature’s awesome power.