On Thursday of last week, our family returned from almost two weeks in the wilderness of Northern Michigan. This was our annual two-week camping trip in Michigan. We spent 4 days at Big Knob State Forest Campgroundon the northern shore of Lake Michigan. We, then, trekked 250 miles to the Western U.P. to the Porkie’s (Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park) and spent 8 days on the Lake Superior shore.
Sometimes, I am embarrassed driving along the Lake Superior shoreline. There are stretches of Highway 28 where the water is so blue, the inlets are so beautiful, I begin to cry.
There is something spiritual about the Great Lakes for me. If our bodies really are 90% water, growing up in West Michigan, I was 90% Lake Michigan via the Grand River for the first 18 years of my life. Living in Chicago, with its large water inlets protruding out thousands of feet into Lake Michigan, I am again 90% of the lake and its blue. Perhaps, something in my body knows.
Walking out off the stoney shore of Lake Superior into the 65 degree water, I could not walk far enough to not see clearly the rocky bottom. The rocks shimmered a variety of colors, white, reddish, composite, and blackish-blue.
Being in the Northern Woods, I dream of being a naturalist. I dream of a little log cabin, a wood-fire stove, and daily routines of reading, writing, and work. I attribute that dream to the one who plant its seed: my grandfather, Kenneth Winstrom.
It was my Grandpa who taught me to stay in the woods, build a fire in the rain, chop a tree, split wood, choose and widdle a roasting stick, roast marshmallows, adore the cool fresh water, fish pike & walleye, respect a rifle, love the forest, and sit in the wilderness with the God who made it all.
I am trying to put words to a feeling. There is something about the wilderness and its waters that puts life, even eternal life, in perspective. It reminds me (us) that we are creatures. Creation brings me closer to the spiritual fact of my bodily origins. I am, you are, part of the earth. Some say we are humans having a spiritual experience.
I suggest, we are animals – creatures – attempting a human one.