Superior views …
July 23, 2008

I’m on the road again heading east along the north shore of Lake Superior to Sault Ste. Marie with a truck load of gently used clothing to drop at Value Village and six dive tanks needing annual inspection. More importantly, I am off to visit my sister and brother-in-law for a few days. I haven’t seen them since last December. That time hardly counts as a visit. On that trip it was dark and cold and very late at night  and Dave and I stayed only long enough to get a few hour sleep as we began a diving adventure to Bonne Terre, MO. But I am excited at the opportunity to see family again.

It is a drive I have made many times and is one of my most favourite places in Canada to travel. At Wawa the highway picks up the shoreline of Lake Superior again and provides spectacular views of the lake. Wawa is a good place to stop for a bit of a break from driving; a chance to stretch muscles stifened from sitting too long in one position. It was a great place for a lunch stop with a view and some delightful conversation with a lady from Trinidad who now calls the north shore home.

I have some favoutie spots where I frequently linger on this journey.

Old Woman Bay is the first of the breath-taking sights. The approach to the bay is a long hill one drives down and the highway appears to change from pavement into a wide light sand beach curving off to the right and backed by a massive wall of granite. I’ve never been able to find the perfect vantage point from which to photograph this marvel and capture the awesomeness of this approach to the Lake. It is more an experience than a fixed image. But it is just the first of the ‘aha’ moments in the drive.

I’m tempted to stop and linger awhile at Montreal River Harbour. It is more typical of many of the beaches on the north shoreline. No sand here! Just large, rounded bowls created by the power of the waves on the lake that force chunks of granite to rub against one another with such force that over time rounded stone are formed. It is difficult beach to walk along. It does, though, speak to the power of the lake.

Montreal River Harbour at Trails End

Montreal River Harbour at Trails End

The beach covering ranges from pebbles to rocks the size of a human head all shaped by wave action.  This site is even more wondrous when a storm is raging on the lake and you get the chance to watch the creation process in action–rocks moving against rock. The roar of the waves and the wind are reminiscent of a great factory churning out rounded bowls.

And so a simple drive always turns into a longer drive because there is still Katharine Cove, Alona Bay, Pancake Bay, Agawa, Batchewana and on and on. I always marvel that I reach my destination. This trip was no different than all the ones before; it took much longer to get to the Sault only because of dallying along the way. I’m smiling as I write that phrase because it carries me back to a time when I was small and my father would frequently find me dallying and have to call me back to reality.

The sun shone. The traffic was light. The sights were marvellous as always. I did actually arrive at my destination only 3.5 hours later than planned. Sigh!                     GRB

Sacred Spaces…
July 21, 2008

Storm sky over Pebble Beach

Storm sky over Pebble Beach

Since my childhood Lake Superior has been a sacred space for my family; more specifically, Pebble Beach. My parents and sister and I worshiped here frequently when I was growing up. It is still a sacred space and my wife and children also recoginze the spirituality of the place. Our children still make pilgrimage to this spot when they return home for visits. Throughout the years when I feel troubled or need a place to think I go to the water at Pebble Beach. It is a quiet spot to commune with the Creator. It is  a cleansing place and I always feel refreshed and at peace following a visit here.

Some years ago my youngest son asked me to learn to scuba dive with him. Since then we have been diving buddies and one of our favourite places to dive is in the cold waters of Lake Superior. It has allowed me to experience my awe and wonder of creation in a whole new light; to experinece Superior from above and as part of it. I feel incredibly safe when suspended in her waters. This is the time iwhen all my physical aches and pains disappear. Cradled! It deepens my relationship with my understanding of God and my faith.

Saturday morning Dave and I went diving; our first for this season. It was glorious! I felt refreshed. Mostly, I felt at peace suspended in the water, laying on my back watching my air bubbles travel upward to break on the surface. I can hardly wait for the next dive.

Greetings from inside Lake Superior

Greetings from inside Lake Superior


On days like this, life is perfect. Thanks, David. Love, Dad.                                               GRB

July 16, 2008

Today the sun shone. I know that’s not terribly remarkable for most people but it is significant for the north shore of Lake Superior this year. We haven’t had much sun this summer. Mostly we have had rain–buckets of rain. Large buckets of rain. So when I say the sun shone today, know that it is a meaningful event.

We spent the day digging in the back yard redesigning the lay of the land. Our home (sanctuary) is built on an ancient raised beach of Lake Superior and the soil is 99% fine beach sand. The remaining 1% is what passes for topsoil in these parts. The Lake is currently about a kilometre away from the house and is significantly lower than the old beach in which we toiled.

While digging crabgrass roots out of the sand and marvelling at the fine hairy roots other plants put down to eek sustanance from the beach, I retold myself the story of “Paddle to the Sea” and wondered if perhaps the canoe stopped on my beach in its journey to the ocean. Then I replayed, in the theatre of my mind, the old NFB film “The Rise and Fall of the Great Lakes”. I can see the waves pounding against these ancient sands doing as I am doing–reshaping the landscape.

As always time marched on and we accomplished the task we set out to do. Just another reshaping of the shoreline of Lake Superior. I feel good!  GRB