Friday, July 24, 2009

Where my heart dwells

Lac de Superior or Nadouessious

These three photographs obviously are not mine. Never in 1,000 years could I take photos as remarkable as they are, but, thanks to good fortune, I stumbled across them. Although it might not be easily recognizable at first glance, these three photos are of the same point of land on Lake Superior. Most remarkable of all in the sense that I stumbled onto them, these three photos show the precise, exact and specific waters off the shoreline of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan in which I learned how to handle a canoe on "big water" -- on Lake Superior.

I learned how to ride with the waves and atop the waves, how to use the waves rebounding off boulders to make my way along a rocky coastline on a stormy day, how to slip and slide my way past the waves, and, most importantly, how to feel as one with the water and the wind and the rocks. I shudder simply from thinking of it, from the memory of it -- trepidation turning into confidence and then into exuberance.

There only have been two things I have real, natural-born, instinctive talent at, neither of which is a particularly practical or an everyday useful sort of skill. One is handling a handgun at any range, in any light, in any weather, in any circumstance. The other is handling a canoe in any water, in any light, in (almost) any weather, in any circumstance.

The chapter heading here, incidentally -- Lac de Superior or Nadouessious -- is taken from a reproduction of a French map of this region published in 1719. This was Lake Superior, or the lake of the cut throats, the lake of the Sioux, who were about to be pushed south and west, and who already had been replaced by the Ojibwa on the northern shores.

Summer flies -- why, oh, why can't I?

Isle Royale

An island known as Isle Royale lies a few miles offshore from Minnesota on Lake Superior, but is part of the state of Michigan. It is a national park. It is wild and beautiful, with moose and wolves among the notable occupants. At about 45 miles long and nine miles wide, it is not a small island. There are many trails to hike but, personally, I think it preferable to explore by water.

The first video posted here was created by some folks who used kayaks to cruise the waters around the island. The music accompaniment is "The Bridge," by Bradley Joseph, a piano and orchestral piece which might be a relief for those who during the past few days have taken the time to listen to heavy-duty rock, Minnesota style, in the form of the Vixens.

The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald

The second video posted here is "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald." The Fitzgerald was an iron ore carrier that went down with all hands during a storm on Lake Superior on November 10, 1975. For those not familiar with Lake Superior, the gales of November, with the seasons in change, are legendary for their ferocity. Winds reaching 80 miles an hour and waves running 25 feet in height were reported the evening the Fitzgerald was lost.

While the video features a song written and sung by Gordon Lightfoot, there actually is considerable footage of the Fitzgerald both atop the Lake and resting on the bottom. Also present is the actual radio transmission between the Coast Guard and another ship, the Arthur M. Anderson, which had been trailing the Fitzgerald by about ten miles and whose crew had witnessed it disappear from the radar screen.

The Fitzgerald had departed Superior, Wisconsin, with a cargo of 26,116 tons of taconite pellets consigned to Detroit. The ship encountered increasingly heavy weather, and sank in Canadian waters about 17 miles from the entrance to Whitefish Bay and safety. There were 29 men aboard who died with their ship that evening. The exact cause for the sinking continues to be debated even now.


TheChicGeek said...

This is the most beautiful post ever! I am breathless. The pictures....stunning. If I lived there I would never want to leave. I didn't realize the water was so wild on your lake. The beauty of that place must be forever etched in your mind and heart and soul. The truly have wowed me today :D
To be able to explore such beautiful waters and land, that is surely paradise.
Your heart dwells in a beautiful place...Show us more of your heart...It is beautiful. I love it :D

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Amazing. The lake, the talk about being one with the water.I believe those words are important for some reason. Being one with your surroundings- not just cooperate. Being one. One being- sharing a moment in history.

I am touched.
I think maybe.. tonight..

Tonight I really did peek into your heart.

Fram Actual said...

You know the old saying, Kelly -- it seemed like a good idea at the time. Leaving, I mean. This was a unique situation, my departure, and I often have said it might have been the only major mistake I have made in my life.

Times change, people change, but some places do not change, at least in terms measurable in human life spans. The Lake is still there, whenever I need it.

Thank you, for all the compliments. You certainly made my day.

Fram Actual said...

I do not know if it is possible for a person to become one with his surroundings in a city, Nana, but it seems to me it can be done by anyone who opens his mind when the surroundings are lakes or rivers or woodlands or rolling prairies.

We have been part of nature significantly longer than we have been part of civilization, and to return to the natural world is but a very short step.

Thank you, for peeking behind the doorway.

Magdalena said...

Breathtaking, Fram. One can learn a lot from this Lake, I would say. I think every lake has its own soul and spirit, and Superior Lake has remarkably mighty spirit. Thank you very much for showing whole this magnificence, because now I know I've got a powerful ally in America, which invites me to come closer and to learn from it.

I wish you very beautiful weekend, handsome Wolf :-) Bye, bye.

Fram Actual said...

Certain Indian tribes believed all objects, both animate and inanimate, possessed a Manitou, a spirit. Sometimes these Manitous appeared in corporal form, sometimes not. Pantheistic fool that I am, I believe the Manitou of Lake Superior and my Manitou recognized each other, knew each other, have been companions.

Whatever the case, Mag, the Lake is a force onto itself, and is a friend as long as it is shown respect and affection. In many ways, it is like a beautiful woman.

May your weekend be what you hope it to be, lovely Polish girl.

A Cuban In London said...

A post with fantastic pictures and Gordon Lightfoot at the end to boot! Man, I'm chuffed. I love 'Black Day In July', 'Pussywillows, Cattails' and 'Did She Mention My Name'. This man has such a beautiful and clear voice. Many thanks for sharing this slice of your life with us and for the Gordon Lightfoot.

Greetings from London.

Fram Actual said...

Thank you, for the assortment of compliments, El CiL.

I am certain many people have similar feelings for Lake Superior as those of mine, or for other bodies of water throughout the world. In a sentence, I am not certain if the Lake is part of me or I am part of it. No difference, I guess.

Yes, the troubadour, Gordon Lightfoot, is a genuine talent.

kiyoteekisser said...

Very inspiring to visit there again. We've been invited to stay at a "cabin" on Lake Superior for the past several years. Makes me think we should act on it.

Fram Actual said...

Well, hello there. It is most pleasant to see the mistress of Yippee stop by for a visit.

By all means, any time you have the opportunity to visit Lake Superior, do it. You live in one of the most beautiful regions on earth, I think, and you will find that also to be true in many of the areas along the coastline of the Lake. Wild, primitive, absolutely gorgeous.

Peggy said...

Fram, I got shivers down to the ends of my toes when I watched those videos - particularly the first one. Of course, being from Toronto, I grew up on Gordon Lightfoot, but it was still great to hear him sing. Seeing the Video provided me with the visual details to go with the words and the sentiment of the song. A reminder that nature rules and can be a harsh mistress.

You have a knack for bringing us such marvelous treats when we visit! I really have to limit myself (both in time spent here at your side and in time spent responding) as I just am so short on time these days - but I can't help but pop over to see you every week and I am never disappointed.

I will refrain from further comment although I could spend quite a few paragraphs telling you all the individual things I found in those videos which caused those shivers.

Thank you for making my day! You have my heart strings firmly in your grip!

Something special ....