Great Truths Reflected in a Great Lake--Superior

A view of Lake Superior in Duluth, MN. The Aerial Lift Bridge is in the background.
A view of Lake Superior in Duluth, MN. The Aerial Lift Bridge is in the background.

Water, we need it to live, but beyond that, water intrigues us. Have you ever looked out and stared at the ocean or marveled at the beauty of a waterfall? Have you ever looked into the deep depths of a clear blue lake and wondered? We are drawn to water, and it makes us wonder, and it makes us think and dream.

I am lucky enough to live near the shores of the largest freshwater lake in the world, Lake Superior. It is the one of the "Great Lakes", and many people are drawn to its shoreline every year. Lake Superior is the coldest and the cleanest of the great lakes. It is also majestic with it's rugged coastlines. Over my lifetime I've spent many hours looking at the lake and some basic truths have come to mind. Here are a few of them.

Summer surfin on Lake Superior

The Great Force of Lake Superior

Time smooths out rough edges.

The shoreline of Lake Superior is covered by rocks, and many of them are sharp and jagged. Over time, the flow and ebb of the waves wear the rocks' sharp edges down, and eventually the rocks are smoothed. Along the shoreline people gather the rocks, intrigued by their smooth surface.

Some people are like rocks. They appear rough, abrasive, maybe even harsh. But given a fair amount of time and the right encouragement, their rough nature can change. They are not solid in their abrasive nature because constant encouragement can smooth out their jagged edges.

Nothing goes away forever, it shows up again at sometime somewhere.

As someone who lives near the Lake, I see this all the time. Something, a rock or piece of wood, is tossed in to the Lake, but it never really is gone. It either sinks to the bottom or washes up on the shoreline. The same holds true for our words and actions. Once you say something, you can never take those words back, and the situation is the same with actions.

We should take time to think before we speak and act because strong currents pull words and actions into the sea of people that surround us, and those words and actions impact others.

The biggest storm will eventually calm.

On Lake Superior great storms happen during the month of November when gales can be horrific. Many shipwrecks have happened during autumn on Lake Superior. In his song The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald pop songwriter Gordon Lightfoot tells the story of one of these shipwrecks and how it devastates the sailors' families.

November, at the end of the shipping season, can be very stormy on the Lake. But we all know that after the storms and ice of winter, the lake ice will thaw and waters will calm and be peaceful again. Like life, the Lake calms.

Sometimes in life we face storms--divorce, illness, even death of a loved one. Yet, time goes on, and people some how manage to live through storms. Consider wars, and how people somehow pull together, unite, and rebuild. Calm comes again.

We cannot control nature because it's a manifestation of something bigger than ourselves.

Tourists and natives alike are intrigued by the beauty and the great force of Lake Superior. They gather on the piers and on the shoreline to witness the sheer force of the waves. Unfortunately, some have been pulled in by immense waves and carried deep down by undertows. Most natives recognize the force of this great Lake and respect it.

This Lake, this force, is something people cannot harness or control. The power of the Lake is so much greater than us. The Lake is a part of nature--something bigger than us that we cannot control or master. Some would say the Lake reflects the power of God, others just see it as a part of "Mother Nature". Whatever a person believes, it is undeniable-- we cannot control the power of the Lake.

I've lived most of my life near Lake Superior. I, like many, find the Lake mysterious and intriguing. I never grow tired of looking at the Lake because it reminds me of ideas so much bigger than myself. As Norman Maclean writes in A River Runs Through It , "I am haunted by waters."

Lake Superior

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Comments 15 comments

MHiggins profile image

MHiggins 21 months ago from Michigan

Thanks for writing this, Julie. I have had many of the same perceptions of Lake Superior teaching life lessons. I am captivated by this lake's beauty. Great hub!


eventsyoudesign profile image

eventsyoudesign 6 years ago from Nashville, Tennessee

Wow! This is a great article. My parents live in Michigan. When I was a teenager we spent some time in the summers at Lake Michigan. It was amazing to see how big the waves would get during a storm. It made me forget that I was on a lake and not at the ocean. This article makes me reflect on my own life and where I have been and where I am headed. Thanks for sharing. Teresa


Julie A. Johnson profile image

Julie A. Johnson 8 years ago from Duluth, MN Author

Rob, Thanks. About the book, workin' and thinkin'. We'll see. Thanks for reading my hubs. Julie

ripplemaker, Yes, all things do eventually calm, and it's comforting to know that. In the midst of chaos (that happens frequently at my house) I try to reflect on that, annd it does help. Thank you for your support. Julie


ripplemaker profile image

ripplemaker 8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

What beautiful reflections Julie. Today I am struck about the thought that the biggest storm will eventually calm. It all does. And yes, that comforts me a lot. Thank you.


Rob Jundt profile image

Rob Jundt 8 years ago from Midwest USA

Another one of your metaphorical gems. Still working on the book? Nice Job!


Ananta65 8 years ago

You're welcome, I again enjoyed reading it, Julie


Julie A. Johnson profile image

Julie A. Johnson 8 years ago from Duluth, MN Author

Ananta, Your words are so true. Water can be gentle, yet harsh, but always beautiful. Thanks for your comments. Julie


Ananta65 8 years ago

Nothing under heaven is softer or more yielding than water

Yet it has no equal for attacking things that are hard and stiff

Nothing can withstand itLao Tse


Julie A. Johnson profile image

Julie A. Johnson 8 years ago from Duluth, MN Author

Dottie, Storms come up incredibly quick around here. They can be exciting to watch, but a bit scary too. I'm sure your dad felt a bit anxious, to say the least. But you both lived to tell the tale, and sharing stories is great fun. Take care, and keep on writing. Julie


Dottie1 profile image

Dottie1 8 years ago from MA, USA

I once camped on the bank of Lake Superior. Right after camp setup a powerful hailstorm came whipping throughout of nowhere. Being young then and protected by my father it was very exciting! I don't think my father felt the same!


Julie A. Johnson profile image

Julie A. Johnson 8 years ago from Duluth, MN Author

dayzeebee, Thank you so much for the compliments. I hope to write more life lessons hubs. soon. Thanks again. Julie


dayzeebee profile image

dayzeebee 8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

beautiful writing. profound lessons. thank you. i am an avid student. do teach us more.


Julie A. Johnson profile image

Julie A. Johnson 8 years ago from Duluth, MN Author

Ralp, I'm sure even the smallest Great Lake is incredible! Thanks for reading. Julie

bluebird, I enjoy nature very much, and I think we can learn from our surroundings. Thanks for your positive response. Julie


bluebird profile image

bluebird 8 years ago

Excellent hub. I really enjoyed and appreciate the truths represented by it. Thank you for sharing. It is indeed wonderful when people like you appreciate their surroundings and thrive on seeing and learning lessons from nature.


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 8 years ago

Very nice! I live near Lake St Clair, the smallest of the Great Lakes. :-)

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