Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Ghosts of the Upper Peninsula, Ghosts part 3

This year we are vacationing in a cabin near Big Bay, MI.  The cabin is right beside Lake Superior. Sparsely populated, pristine, and beautiful, it is a place to rest. It is a perfect place to look at what is important. There are things we forget in life, sometimes you need to stop and remember them.

The entire are is covered in primal forest. Forests that were there before the first humans crossed the Bering Strait.  Ancient forests, standing tall, holding tight the past, sharing it in small glimpses with those willing to listen. There are hundreds of stories in those woods. Triumph and disaster, life and death, a constant struggle for survival, spirits who lived and those who didn't. All waiting to be heard, all looking, all yearning.

There are tales of ghost ships on Lake Superior. Sailors have reported seeing the wrecks of ships long gone, sailing to relive their doom. Destined to capsize, split in half, or suffer again whatever calamity ended the last voyage. Captains avoid areas where known ship wrecks lie, they swear they can hear the cries of the the lost. Divers talk about ghosts laying on bunks, rising only to follow them from cabin to cabin. "Superior it is said never gives up her dead," is not just a fable, the water is so cold bacteria will not form and without the gases of decaying flesh the corpses are left, preserved on the bottom. A very disquieting thought.

And then there is the lake. The big lake, Lake Superior. The largest freshwater lake in the world, if measured by surface area. Some of the most ancient rock on the planet holds the water of Lake Superior. There is no way you can separate the truth from the fiction in something that old. Precambrian formations that have seen everything. An Ojibway legend believes that the rock can talk to powerful people. Quantum physics is built on the theory that life exists down to the very atom, and there is no separation between mind and matter. Life is saturated with meaning. So maybe the elders were right, the very rocks can talk to people who are willing to hear.

Lake Superior is 350 miles long, 160 miles wide, and reaches depths over 1,300 feet. There are stories of 30 pound northern pike (one of the most intimidating of fresh water fish) being pulled from its waters. Twenty seven foot waves crash across the top. It is an old, powerful, spiritual place. The primitive belief that deity exists in nature probably born someplace like the Upper Peninsula. I feel fortunate to make the trip.