Monday, April 30, 2012
THE NORTHERN MOTHER
I've been thinking a lot about the lake lately....to be honest, I've thought about her since I left. I live near a "lake", one of those gynormous turf-scars that the Corps of Engineers was so fond of digging way back when. It's nice, and I've heard that the fishing's good-but it's not Erie.
Oddly enough, I've never been out on her water. I last swam in her about thirty-five years ago, and I've never gone boating on her. The furthest out I've ever been is to the end of the Mile-Long Pier. Still, she sings in my blood, and I never knew until I was gone.
She's claimed five friends over the years, but I bear no grudge-she is what she is, and often, she's dangerous. My brother almost drowned in her waters about a couple months after two kids we knew drowned riding a bike off the Pier, back in March of '68. She's the reason we have the kick-ass winters we do, the famed "lake effect" found in few places on the globe, according to Dick Goddard.
She was my friend, on quiet, sleepless nights. I could hear the waves tumbling in, the hiss of churning pebbles in the surf, the whispering sound, so like the human voice, that always gave her nighttime shores a haunted quality. The moon, like a giant medusa jelly, glowing over her reflecting surface, dominating the fainter light of vessels going to ports far and near.
She has mystified me, with glowing fogbanks that traveled against the wind, sounds when nothing is visible to make them, first-hand accounts of strange aquatic reptiles from ages past, showing up to unnerve fishermen. I've played in her surf, tried to surf on old doors at Lakeview, sat on the sand at one am, listening to a radio station from almost directly across the water, and had a thousand adventures on and near her.
Some nights, after a 40-ounce or a Cuba Libre, I'll call the Coast Guard station at the mouth of the Black, and ask after her. The Coastie can't give me specific data, Homeland Security and all, but we generally talk for a few, and it's good to hear someone from "up home".
Lord willing, I'll take my wife and daughter to meet her someday....I think they'd love her, as I do.