The Native Americans called it Gitchee Gumee. The lake that seems as big as an ocean. Lake Superior that straddles the Michigan-Canadian border. With its rocky beaches and big waves. She walked along the beach and climbed over the rocks where she had to. It had been twelve years since she’d been here. Since she’d been home. It was a summer day, but the water was cold and the wind was brisk. She loved it.
She could be at home in Kentucky. At the island in Florida. Nowhere was she more at home than at the big lake. Do we have cellular memory? That’s the only explanation she had for it. This is where her roots were. She’d never spent much time here. Her father left here before she was born and her family seldom returned. Every time she came back, she knew this was where she was supposed to be. When she saw the relatives she had left here, it felt right. They seemed like she felt. She felt at home with them even though she didn’t know them well.
Her bond with her father, who was from this vast, sparsely populated, beautiful region, had been strong. Every time she came here as a child and later, as an adult, that bond extended to her relatives and the population here, as well as to the big lake. She had tried to write when she was on the island at the ocean. She tried repeatedly. It never worked. There was something wrong there. Something missing. There was no inspiration.
Here, there was an utter solitude and she was always better alone. She could hear the muse singing in her ears, touching her skin. She could see it with her fading vision, flying over the big lake, touching the pictured rocks, raising up the big wave, giving her the inspiration she craved. She felt she could write forever.
The Native Americans thought Gitchee Gumee was magical. They had been right about so much.