Tuesday midday, Grand Marais, Michigan
At home on Lake Michigan, sunrise comes from behind a walker on the beach, and sunset streams from over the opposite shore, far from sight, at day’s end. On Lake Superior’s southern shore, the sun comes up on the right hand of a walker facing the water and sets on the left. Only midday light is at all comparable.
On Lake Superior beaches one finds different stones, too—notably, at Grand Marais, agates rather than the Petoskey stones sought by vacationers at home—but trees along the shores of these two Great Lakes are not very different: pines and firs, birch, maple, beech, and the ubiquitous quaking aspen (‘popple’), Populus tremuloides, always edging out beyond the older, larger species, a shy but determined pioneer, finding courage in numbers as it ventures nervously past each battle-scarred veteran, say an old birch, that stands firm and stoical until its life’s last great storm shall at last bring it down.