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Great Truths Reflected in a Great Lake--Superior

Updated on March 23, 2015
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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    • MHiggins profile image

      Michael Higgins 

      6 years 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


      10 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 imageAUTHOR

      Julie A. Johnson 

      12 years ago from Duluth, MN

      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

      Michelle Simtoco 

      12 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 

      12 years ago from Midwest USA

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

    • profile image


      12 years ago

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

    • Julie A. Johnson profile imageAUTHOR

      Julie A. Johnson 

      12 years ago from Duluth, MN

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

    • profile image


      12 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 imageAUTHOR

      Julie A. Johnson 

      12 years ago from Duluth, MN

      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


      12 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 imageAUTHOR

      Julie A. Johnson 

      12 years ago from Duluth, MN

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

    • dayzeebee profile image


      12 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

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

    • Julie A. Johnson profile imageAUTHOR

      Julie A. Johnson 

      12 years ago from Duluth, MN

      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


      12 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 

      12 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

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


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