This is nothing new.
You will usually find me there when weather permits, getting in a brisk half-hour walk to break up a work day spent sitting either at a desk or in a courtroom. This time was a little different. I wasn’t walking, since one of my knees had picked up a mysterious ache and demanded that I slow down for a while. I had no shopping errands to run either. So the lake nearby beckoned, and I followed its siren call to a parking spot overlooking a rocky shore and an endless horizon.
I was impatient at first. This was my usual time of day to move! To pound the pavement and get my heart rate up and my muscles stretched out. But the weather was too cold to even get out of the car and sit on a nearby bench, so I simply stared at the waves through the front windshield. And briefly, heretically, I asked myself “now what exactly am I getting from this?”
And then in short order words and impressions began to form. The waves were a dusty sage green under a grey and cloudy sky. They rolled toward me not in a riot of crashing, foamy crests, but in undulating swells whose crosshatched texture and pattern and sheen brought to mind silk fabric cut on the bias.
In that moment, and for the remaining time I had until duty called, I “got” what Lake Michigan shore has always given me. A source of peace, and nature, and wonder, and inspiration that is never, ever the same.
Driftwood shapes on the sand, polished by wind and water and resembling sea creatures cast up from the deep. A layer of swirling vapor rising from the surface in sub-zero winter temps, resembling a witch’s cauldron. Mosaics of light rippling crosswise across the sand ridges beneath crystalline water. Fog so thick that when you walk toward the lighthouse, you can stand on the breakwater and see neither shore behind you nor structure ahead. I could go on and on… Every visit to the shore is different, from moment to moment and day to day.
And so, without further words, here are moments of Lake Michigan.