Under a Lake Superior Sun

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On a quiet county road
a woman sells vegetables and red elderberry jam
She rolls down her awning as lightening splits the sky and
rain pounds down in sheets.
Logging trucks thunder in slick dirt tracks
lumbering across iron-stained streams
“In the boonies…”
“we’re in the sticks”
my midwest nomenclature returns.
Tracks of old growth forest,
maple, hemlock, oak
surround our old cottage where
the smell of pine and the wired hum of cicadas
sting the air.
Out back, rotted firewood is stacked
Moored in the beach grass a wooden boat sleeps,
worn by wind and weather.
Should we sell the white sands
at Happy Landing
Where there is no nonsense,
no fast foods and
no new thing under the sun?

Post script: This poem was inspired by our current travels across my birth state of Michigan where we are headed for a family reunion in Flint, and a college girl’s reunion in Ludington. As we pass through small towns on the great Superior Lake, I find myself muttering, “ah…I could live here…”. It is so much like Alaska, minus the mountains.

Over the years, I have developed a great affinity for the southwest, especially Taos, New Mexico, a place I dearly love and visit periodically. I’ve heard myself mutter, “I could live here” while visiting..it is such a beautiful place with a special artful energy. But this trip has brought back so many memories. Though wanderlust could be my second name, maybe at heart I’ll always be a northern girl.

Have you ever imagined living somewhere else at another time in your life? How does landscape and a sense of place color your thoughts on where and how you want to live?

Location: Upper Peninsula, Michigan

0 thoughts on “Under a Lake Superior Sun”

  1. My sister got married in Taos, New Mexico! (Justice-of-the-Peace, I've never been there but I wish I had visited her when she lived in NM. I had three kids and traveling from Connecticut was a daunting prospect…)

    It sounds like you're having an inspiring trip and your poem is wonderful. I hear the "wired hum of cicadas" here, too.

    I've imagined living in Norway, even though I've never been there either. Some of my ancestors were from Norway and for some reason the place calls to me. All the natural beauty I see in magazines and books feels like home somehow…

  2. I've never been to Norway, but the light/dark dichotomy parallels what we experience here. Many years ago, fresh out of school, I had considered Maine (where the forest and ocean meet) as well as landlocked Montana. Talk about contrasts!

  3. So often when leaving the shores of this Superior Lake (I like how you called it that) I long to live elsewhere, to settle deep roots in new places. Once I tasted the soil in Kayenta, Arizona, and wanted to live there, beyond the fences that seemed impenetrable to pass. The older I get, though, the value of deepening into this place begins to gain more momentum. To grow as old as ancient Superior rocks, to ripen into sweet tangy thimbleberries, to settle into the maturity of an old growth forest. Ahhhh…but to have mountains at our doorstep, though! (Unless you count the Huron Mountains.)

  4. White Sands sounds wonderful, I'll fix the boat, replace the firewood, sell it to me! or make me your caretaker. I've lived all over, but keep coming back to the UP. My center is here, not a simpler life, just paced better than anywhere else. I love winter despite doubters, it cleanses, covers up mistakes, melts into green spring. I love summer too, the Harley travels better on these roads in summer. Spring and Fall are my secret lovers, All 4 are here like no where else. Life begins and ends… over and over… When I die, I will give back to the earth all the brook trout I've eaten… a fair game.

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Welcome to the creative playground of Image, Sculpture, Verse.  I live in a river town nestled in the Chugach Mountain Range of Southcentral Alaska.



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