Ã¢ÂÂNatures Undistinguished ElementsÃ¢ÂÂ On a typical fall day, Lake Michigan can speak a language of its own. The lake relates a story of flowing waves, bobbing boats, and soaring birds.
ÃÂÃ ÃÂÃ ÃÂÃ ÃÂÃ ÃÂÃ ÃÂÃ ÃÂÃ ÃÂÃ As the white-crested, blue waves drift towards the foamy shores, they bring with them a long history. Many of these waves have traveled for miles to arrive here in Milwaukee, and as they reach the rocky shores, the long, rolling journey comes to an abrupt and ferocious end with waves crashing against the sides of jagged, granite rock. The chilled water sprays scattered droplets through the crisp air, and where they land, no one really knows. Some of the droplets may end up splashing to a halt on a nearby grain of sand, only to be evaporated by the heat of the radiant sun. While others may just vanish into the thin air. However, many waves never survive long enough to reach the shores.
Arriving from all directions at a pier or causeway, they flow together in intricate patterns greeting each other and sharing the stories of their journeys. At times, these waves seem to dance as they flow north to south, and then change directions, drifting to the east and then back to the west as if they were gliding smoothly across a newly waxed dance floor. Yet it is not only the crystal clear water that contributes to the beauty of the scene.
The variety of boats that harbor in the bays and ports around Lake Michigan also add to the excitement of a normal day on the lake. The powerboats roar a story of freedom. Everyday, flocks of speedboats propel themselves across the waves flattening the wakes of previous boats and flying limitlessly across the water, skimming the tops of the waves, gaining more and more speed in an endless dance of acceleration. Further out, other motorboats can be seen drifting across the lake being tossed up and down at the mercy of the powerful white-capped waves, but it is not only gas-driven engines that form the scene.
Gliding ever so gracefully over the water, sailboats can be seen at the lake on a regular basis. The wind, a sailboat's best friend, billows the sailboat's sails and sends the elegant boats across the lake ever so smoothly. The wind strength causes the acceleration and deceleration of the boats movement across the glassy lake, like a skater gliding over frozen, mirrored ice.
Adding to the attractiveness of the lakeshore, birds can be seen soaring through the crisp skies and drifting through the cool waters around Lake Michigan. Probably the most common bird around the lake is the completely white seagull, regularly observed ascending into the sky from a nearby pier, break-line, or buoy. On a windy day, the gulls can be seen struggling against the intense strength of the wind as they attempt to ascend higher into the skies, away from earth's awful pull. In addition to the gulls, there are the floating birds sitting calmly on the chilly waters. The multi-colored ducks seem to be purposeless, drifting around the piers allowing the waves to control their direction. Now and then, however, a duck may plunge it's head into the icy water to reach for a chilly meal in the murky depths. The geese, much larger and much more distinguished birds than the ducks, seem always to have a task at hand. If not in the water, the geese can be seen flying through the still atmosphere in the well known Ã¢ÂÂVÃ¢ÂÂ shape. When the time comes to land their very broad bodies into the icy water, the geese first circle as if to survey the area for any immediate dangers, and when they decide to land, they expose their large webbed feet to prepare for the quick descent. As the geese descend closer and closer to the water's surface, they reveal their enormous wing span for all, and finally, when the water is very close, the geese skim their webbed feet across the water until they slow down enough to plunge their bodies into a watery seat.
As the eyes search the beauty of Lake Michigan, the soul fills with feelings so often experienced in life. The waves' metered swells inspire feelings of peace and calmness, yet this tranquility can change abruptly by the impenetrable pilings and jagged shoreline that hinder its way. The powerboats speed through the most bold and fearless of emotions, ready to take on any challenge. Then there are the sailboats, so graceful, yet insecure, led by necessity by outside forces, the essential weakness of the soul sensing the vulnerability while basking in the ease of riding the flow of it's surroundings. The harbor infuses a feeling of secure freedom from risk, a contentment to be sheltered, protected, a place safe from the threats of the outside world. And finally, the birds make the most of their unencumbered travels, soaring to heights that know no limits. They know the freedom of flight; the same freedom that enables the soul to feel it can touch the stars. A lifetime of emotions can be sensed and experienced while at Lake Michigan's shore. So much beauty to behold, a language of nature to be interpreted by the eyes as well as the soul.