Temperamental and mighty, she is intensely beautiful. She has given life, sustained life, and taken life.
Why do I say that Lake Superior is a woman? Other than a sense of pure feminine energy, I have no valid evidence – I’m content with that.
I’ve spent time around Superior since I was young, but I didn’t fully grasp her power until…well, until I needed her to heal me. My aunt invited me to take a trip with her up to the Apostle Islands; the first of many adventures she and I would embark on.
I was in – what place was I in? Lost? That’s not quite it. I was nearing the end of an incredibly toxic relationship – a relationship that had broken the strong woman that I believed I was…the strong woman my friends were even perplexed to see broken. One that left me crying and calling my mother daily. One the left a woman who adores food, forgetting to eat. To say that I was in an unhealthy place was truly an understatement.
I needed this trip. From the start it showed me so many things I had been lacking – it showed me love, patience, trust, strength, and hope.
While the trip itself, and the experiences of that trip will always be deeply important, it really wasn’t until the last day that this experience occurred…
The forecast showed rain but we decided to make the drive to Red Cliff anyway. We wanted to kayak along the shore, where the lake had beaten away the rock and created something intensely beautiful.
Mother Nature must have had a change of heart that day since the weather turned out to be blue skies and sunny. We kayaked along the shore admiring the beauty in destruction the lake had created. “How long has this been here?”, I always think about that when I’m in nature – wondering what it has seen and what it has withstood.
As I floated along, I looked down into the water . If you’ve never been on Superior – well, that would make sense due to the frigid temperature, but the water is amazingly clear. This made it difficult to judge how deep the water was below me, since I could see evidence of the bottom but recalled how quickly the lake descends. There is something about big water like this that makes me feel connected to the Earth and proves to me that there is something bigger than you and I. It also petrifies me. The mountains have made this impact on me too. They are the true Kings and Queens and will quickly humble you, should you forget. What it took to make these beasts is something we cannot comprehend.
All of those thoughts going through my mind and almost in that same moment it felt like she was talking to me – saying, “let go” – “drop it all here”
– “Drop what?”
– “Whatever you need, but leave it here”
Oh, now I see. The pain. The frustration, the lies – every negative thing I had been experiencing. She was offering me a way to release that – to heal. I thought about it for a moment and questioned whether or not it was selfish, allowing her to absorb all of that toxicity for me. I wondered aloud – is that fair? Can she handle all of that?
Then I remembered all she has endured – how she has taken rock walls and turned them into beautiful faces. And then she responded in a way that was both encouraging but almost left me feeling silly, “of course I can, Rachael”.
So I let it slip. Out of my mind, out of my body, out of the kayak, down into the water. Washed away. Released. Healed.
She would handle it from here and I trusted that implicitly.