Lake Therapy

The smell of the lake woke me up with a start from my torpor. Hell-oo! Reunited after months apart, we smiled in delight at each other, taking stock of how we had changed and where we now stood. An old friend, a very old friend. She is older than me, thousands of years older, and I am confident that despite all the turmoil yet to come as the climate changes, she will outlast me thousands of years more.

Michigan simply means big water, great lake. And that she is, the yardstick in my mind against which no European lake will ever measure up. Sunrises are more joyful when mountains don’t function like blinders, distorting your view and cutting you off from the infinite promise of light on the horizon.

Her closet is completely empty, yet every day she shows up in a different color, wearing new wave forms as accessories. Sometimes when she is feeling more introverted she even disguises herself as the sky. The newspaper tells me she is thriving again, her waves reaching out and lapping the beach after her retreat and all time low in 2013. This makes not just the birds very happy.

A scrap of paper is in my journal. On it is the quote: “Water will always find cracks it can flow through.” It is written in my handwriting, but I no longer remember where it came from. I find this saying comforting. Nothing is stagnant, everything changes, only patience is required. Put your trust in eternal movement. On the first page of my current journal, underneath where I wrote the date and place I started keeping it, I copied down these words: “Stop running after the waves. Let the sea come to you.”

It was just too far, though, for her to reach me. The cold stone mountains encumber and divide, you lose your perspective, you choke on the fumes that accumulate in the valleys. I had to run to her; I ran so hard I started to fly, tacking against the jet stream. Safely on her shore, the wind blasted my face, meaning business, rushing by, reddening my cheeks as I took my daily walk. I can be happy with so little: a friendly greeting, a strong espresso, a good book, a notebook and pen, a stroll along the harbor, a deep breath.

When I am doing lake therapy, I often ask myself what could possibly compete with this beauty, why I walked out on all this. The natural world is truly amazing. I am tired of people spending their time ignoring this. Be astounded by the dazzle of sun on the blue mirror of the harbor, the vibrant moss colored grass, the pointed call of a blue jay, the gnarled bark of a tree. This is the starting point for everything else: our ability to resonate with beauty. When we forget this, things go askew.