Friday, July 08, 2011

the lake is different tonight, far more choppy, unsettled, and noisy, though the distinction is lost on the boys, who will grab big rocks, take them over to the edge of a rock cliff, and hurl them into the water, listening to their thung as they hit other rocks below. i try to skip rocks in the choppy water but my shoulder still hurts from a while ago and i'm not always successful; one, however, angles way up and goes in a different direction after it hits. it occurs to me that, for a rock, being skipped back into the lake may be an action that takes hundreds of years to undo; it may be lucky to go a foot or two in an entire season, or maybe not at all, but if it catches the eye of a boy, or an errant hiker along the beach, it could have the entire arc of its existence altered permanently.

the odd thing about the rocks, as i've mentioned, is that they are radically different colors, though all are pastel, soft, grayish colors. some are pinkish gray, sandstone maybe, while others are bluish gray, or even slate-blackish gray. and still others are light brown, or a combination of the above, a kind of white with iron in it, or pinkish with gray spots, as if they are put together over many years. because there is no shortage of rocks, i don't bother the boys with their infinite desire to throw them, or move them. down the beach some people have actually made cairns (piles of rocks) on rocks that are in the water; these would make good photographs too but i haven't got around to it.

the other day on impulse we decided to go see splitrock (a picture of which has graced this blog from its beginning) but alas as a state park it was closed; the road going past it was under construction; those who parked near it in hopes of walking in were risking their lives and subjecting themselves to a very long walk. we did see it, however, out on its rock outcropping reaching out into the lake. and from there we decided to haul on to ely, which was supposed to be only sixty or seventy more miles but turned out to be more like a few hours, since the road was windy as it went through the dense hilly forest. not many road signs out there, and we got a good sense of the dense minnesota wild country, superior national forest, and boundary waters area. in ely two thirds of all vehicles had canoes on them; it was a young town; my college friend who lives there conceded, it's not your average small town. we didn't have a full visit with him but i did see him for a short time and that did me good. the boys, who are up for most things, thought it was a pretty long drive just to see a few bears (we did stop at the bear center where they study bear sociology)...

back at the cabin our own little town, two harbors, was having its annual 'heritage days' which featured a historic drama, a lutefisk toss, and a ukelele orchestra, this last billed as the premiere ukelele orchestra of southwest lake county; they numbered about a dozen, only six or seven ukeleles, and played a wild variety of music. i'm sure most of two harbors was out there; the weather was good, and out in the bay the water sparkled its deep blue.

not sure why it turned so choppy tonight. at one point we could see the gulls a ways out in the water; they were activated and lively as if for a change they decided it was a good time to eat. the sun reflected on them and every once in a while they'd fly along the coast, in line, as if they had a new lead on where along the coast the fishing was good. they are remarkable for their stark whiteness especially in the sunset. and for the fact that, much of the time, they don't seem to need to eat; they are content to sit in the sun, or maybe they eat before dawn when the fishing is excellent and they don't have to be watched by us at all.

our trip way up to ely on reflection reminded me of a time when i was here with the older boys and we shot up to canada for a few hours; i wished even then i could show them the whole country, really give them the feel for what it's like to have boundless water, fresh air, long shores, and be a little closer to nature than the forty-eight states below. at this point, moving up here would be an enormous hassle, and would involve leaving grandchildren down in the states, and people who need us for sure, and so, it probably won't happen, at least for the moment, but somehow the lake lapping up on the shore, the crashing of water on the rocks, the ability to be outside in the summer, opens up my soul to the wider possibilities of the universe, the other things one could do with one's life. these would not, on reflection, be easier than the life i've carved out now. but it would be here, or somewhere near here, and that alone would be a breath of fresh air...


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