Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Lakeside Days

Finally a day hot and hazy, after that cool spring and early summer.  The full expanse of Lake Michigan spreads out before me.  Overhead, high, thin clouds buffer the sun, a bit.  The sand burns under foot.  A welcome northerly breeze barrels straight down the lake right at me.  Where are all the gulls, who love to glide the currents high above the glistening water; somewhere else is more enticing, for now. 

Out on the deep blue water are lots of cruisers, open-bow boats, and jet skis.  There’s a cigarette boat noisily zooming about a good way offshore.  A few kayakers and paddle boarders tentatively move about.

The lake has a mild chop with scattered small whitecaps.  The rollers hitting the beach are pleasantly rhythmic and surprisingly loud.  They usually break orderly-like, but now and then a rogue wave arrives and causes an odd and noisy collision. 

I float in the waves a while and wait for the gulls to return.  Later they come, having become bored wherever they had been.  

The water is clear – perhaps too clear, thanks to small mussels, the zebras and the quaggas, destructive invaders from a world away that hog too much mico-food.  The water is also warm, 72 degrees a nearby buoy says, surprisingly so given the last two extra-cold winters.

The water level is high, higher than it has been for years.  Some of the dune grass on the small bluff edging the narrowing beach struggles to maintain footing as the sand collapses beneath from the battering of the relentless waves. 

I think of waves in song.  From Hammerstein:  “You can’t hear a sound, not the turn of a leaf, Or the fall of a wave hittin’ the sand / The tide’s creeping up on the beach like a thief, Afraid to be caught stealing the land.”  From Fields:  “I won’t dance, don’t ask me, I won’t dance madam with you / But oh what you do to me, I’m like an ocean wave that’s bumped on the shore, I fell so absolutely stumped on the floor.”

A shout from somewhere down the beach cuts through the din and breaks the trance.  I look out to see the full expanse of the great lake spread out before me, this hot and hazy day.


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