Wednesday, July 06, 2011

late at night on the fourth, I write from the north shore of lake superior, looking across the lake at small fireworks displays on the wisconsin side of the lake. a bigger one probably in duluth was hidden from my view, slightly behind some trees down the shore. the shore is rocky and the boys and I spend hours walking across the rocks going up and down the beach, occasionally getting up the courage to plunge partway or all the way into the very cold fresh water. a steady breeze comes in off the lake but at the moment it is literally switching from very warm and humid to cool, and back; this has brought out the mosquitoes, so I brought everything in the cabin and write at the kitchen table.

my wife and i had agreed: no internet, especially, no e-mail, no work. she unexpectedly found a wireless connection here and used it to look at the weather, but kept her promise and stayed off e-mail and facebook. i couldn’t even find the connection, and gave up looking; I can put this on the blog any time. i’m interested in whether the indians are still one game up, but I can find that out without internet and don’t really need the weather either. she says a storm is coming in and it will get cooler. I tried to find the storm by scanning the sky but was unable to distinguish fireworks rumbling and light, in the duluth direction, from a possible storm. there’s no storm yet. it’s a little unusual to me to look out, late at night, to a vast lake, its waves lapping up on the rocks, the gulls gliding across it occasionally, cutting in and out of the air currents above it. you hear boats and trucks and other noises in the clear night air but looking out over the water, there’s nothing but the water itself, and it seems like that water goes on for a long way though you can kind of pick out the wisconsin shore in the daytime, at least over on this side of it.

it took about fourteen hours altogether to get up here, and this was very hard on my wife, who hates driving; to the boys it wasn’t too bad though they got a little testy every once in a while. to me it was great, since mostly we went through iowa, where i used to live, and minneapolis, in short places I like a lot and still keep a feeling for. it got steadily more temperate as we got north; to me the greatest thing is to just be able to hang around outside in the summer, though with bugs and all, you can’t do it every minute. being the fourth weekend and all a lot of people were on the road and were outside at every turn; we saw a lot. some places had their fireworks as we drove through them, like waterloo iowa and a couple more on the road to mason city. it’s a good patriotic exercise to get out and drive fourteen hours of your favorite part of the country, more patriotic maybe than blowing up crap yourself, or burning some poor pig to death at the spit. nevertheless here I sit; the world goes back to work tomorrow and i start a little vacation, with my family, on the banks of lake superior.

walking up and down the rocky shores of the lake wears the boys out, apparently; it taxes all their skills, and this is good because they need a lot of this fresh air and learning about balance, rock, driftwood, cold water and climbing. it’s a test of my nerves, sometimes. there’s no fish, to speak of; it’s too cold. no danger of sharks, i told one of them. skipping stones ironically hurts my shoulder, the very one that was damaged in a skating accident around new year; in spite of my constant swimming, it’s obviously still not healed. i’m wondering if, given enough skipping, that will do it? to me it’s a relief to have so many rocks, to not feel as if I should tell the boys not to upset the natural balance by throwing too many rocks. It appears to be impossible to throw to many rocks; there is no shortage of rocks. I may spend the entire ten days myself, throwing rocks. by the end I may be a little better at actually skipping them.

I was hoping to republish e pluribus haiku, as I try to do every fourth of july; i actually had a bigger plan to put one out in paper this year, actually publish a print volume of poetry, and then publish it again on the fourth of every year as i try to do now online. but as usual I missed my deadline, and I’m on the road anyway, and don’t have internet connection, and can’t publish anything in any way, even this. somehow that doesn’t bother me too much. the water laps up on shore; total darkness envelops the lake as even duluth has gone to bed. i did write one which I’ll share, partly because I can’t put it where it belongs right now anyway:

north shore gulls adrift,
lake breezes changing their minds –
now days turn shorter

'til later...


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