whether we acknowledge it or not, it sits next to us, powerful. some days it forces us to pay attention. the waves roar, the wind blows, it is colder near the lake. other days, it is silent, just a presence, like something you feel but can’t see.
i remember when we first arrived here – 34 years ago. the lakefront was different. there was a big engine plant in prime real estate on the lake. it all looked drab and run-down and giant smokestacks lined the sky.
when they didn’t call my husband back for weeks about the position he had interviewed for, i felt lucky, like i had escaped. wisconsin wasn’t on my radar much back then and i wasn’t so sure i wanted it to be.
but, in the way of irony, after six or seven weeks, they did contact him and offered him the job. and the rubber hit the road. i left florida – where we were living at the time – pretty much kicking and screaming, though silently, inside.
eight to nine months later we moved into this house. and, as a dear friend wrote to me, [my] “dna is probably embedded in almost every inch of it.” wisconsin, indeed. 34 years.
as life goes and time moves on, it’s a little uncertain where we will be in years to come. as an ever-increasingly ominous climate change rears its ugly head, we see the potential wisdom in remaining where we are – close to a huge fresh water source in a place where most weather is not too extreme. we have only a short list of places we’d move, a couple of them in a heartbeat.
and then we take a walk. it’s very early morning and we are returning from dropping off littlebabyscion at our mechanic’s shop, choosing to walk home. he’s an early bird so we are walking before a lot of the town is awake for this summer dawn.
the lake is mostly still. it blends into a cloudy sky and takes our breath away. we’ll turn right – west – and walk a block to home. the lake will stay where it is.
and a little while later, over a fresh pot of coffee, we will look at the photographs. to our side, the lake will be quiet as we comment on its stunning personality.
i’m still not sure if i’m crazy about wisconsin. i’m not from here. and that changes things in this town.
but lake michigan – just steps away – knows that. and every now and again that lake, while we are walking in our old neighborhood along its shore, nudges me and makes me pay attention. it pokes at the heartstrings that are tied to this place – through the good, the bad, the ugly, the marvelous – and reminds me of its presence.