Life in a Northern Town

An Iceberg Expedition on May 17th

It's the middle of May— the snow is gone, I've unearthed my sandals from the basement, our windows are free of their plastic wrap, and the Karl is back on the water. Summer is on its way and come hell or high water, I'm forging ahead....right into a Lake dotted with icebergs on May 17th.

The Karl (our trusty mid-80's brown speed-boat) came out of hibernation to ferry us across to Grant's Point and the South Channel for an iceberg photo safari. Meg came along for the ride and, having watched Titanic for the first time the night before, kept a sharp lookout for any hull ripping icebergs. Luckily, we navigated through the ice without difficulty and managed to stay warm and dry.

The shapes and colors of the icebergs were amazing— they were the perfect mirror to the blue sky and clouds overhead.

We motored from one pile of ice floating in the Lake to another for about an hour. It felt so good to back on the water, accompanied by the last gasps of our extraordinary winter.

Sand from the beach mixed with the ice and set sail when the ice broke free of shore.

A mini Stonehenge, imagined in ice and water.

A shark in an iceberg's clothing.

There were pieces of the frozen lake floating everywhere I looked, waiting to melt back into its watery form.

Each time we saw an iceberg cleave off a hunk of ice and release its water back to the Lake, it was exhilarating. The water encapsulated in the frozen confines of the icebergs will go back into the Lake and continue on but the ice structures that held it are lost forever. I felt blessed to be amidst the icebergs, capturing their shapes, colors and essence, before they morphed into their summer form.

The summer solstice is about 30 days away— hard to believe when the Lake is barely above freezing and winter's ice sculptures are bobbing around in the water. I'll greet another summer with open arms but there's a part of me that will miss the starkness and hibernation of winter. The contrast of seasons, played out against the canvas of Lake Superior is a sacred, ageless dance that's been going on for millennia and I feel blessed to witness all of it. Especially when it results in time-traveling pieces of winter, dancing in the Lake on May 17th.