Ros Nelson supports writers who are tired of hearing their friends say, "You should write a book!"
She lives just minutes from Lake Superior – the largest freshwater lake in the world by surface area – an "inland sea" with waves that can crest at over 30 feet. Lake Superior creates a mini climate, loved by fruit growers and creating "lake effect" snow.
Little Big Bay is located on Chequamegon Bay, close to the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore: Little Place ~ Big Ideas ~ On the Bay.
Some years ago, I allowed myself to fall backwards off of a 16-foot Zodiac into Lake Superior. In full scuba gear, we paddled into the first of numerous sea caves, a series of varying sized arches, strung along the shore, side-by-side.
I was not an especially experienced diver then. One of my informal guides that day was a very experienced cave diver. This man has traveled miles underground, mapping unexplored cave systems from which not everyone had returned. In retrospect, this might not have been the best guide for a slightly timid, new diver. But, I was also completely trusting. I operated under the erroneous belief that everyone else was more competent than myself.
In this case, my cave diver friend turned out to be a perfect guide. He indicated to me that I should swim toward an arch, descend, and move forward. I never questioned how he knew that this would actually lead to another cavern, but it did. We grinned at each other and felt triumphant!
In the series of caves, each was utterly unique. Some were happy, gurgling places where sunlight poured in. Others had an ominous quality and the sound was the heart beat of the Lake. At one point, "cave diver man" led us to a place where there did not seem to be an obvious destination, and suggested we descend and follow him... into what looked like utter darkness. I was apprehensive but "cave diver's girlfriend" nodded in assurance and I followed their fins obediently. We ascended in a cave space that was only accesible by an under water route. It was miraculously filled with light; golden and sand colors playing on the stone ceiling of our small and beautiful place.
How "cave diver man" knew that we would find this wonderful cavern, I will never know. In my life, I am often led by those braver than myself and for that I am grateful!
So, that was my introduction to "the sea caves" near Cornucopia in Lake Superior. Wet, nervous, exciting, beautiful. One of the larger caves is a huge split in the rock, large enough for a small boat or kayak. On each side are dark walls rising up to jagged rock edges. High overhead, these dark edges open to reassuring blue sky and white branches. It is not unusual to find an animal who has fallen into this crevice. It is the dangerous and sublime interior, the glimpse of what is normally unseen.
I am writing this memory because of the inspiration I found in Mary Dougherty's blog: http://thecookerymaven.com/2014/01/our-morning-at-the-sea-caves/ (Is it proper to blog a blog?) Mary is a wonderful photographer and teller of tales. Here you will see the frozen sea caves. And they have all the same qualities in winter as in summer: awesome and quirky and ephemeral.
"The locals" take this as their birthright. They are mostly here because they too, are awesome and quirky and ephemeral.