Saturday, May 05, 2007

as child i made an estuary

as a preteen my father took me and my childhood best friend bob camping at the upper peninsula of michigan. it was so cold at night that i wore every piece of clothing i brought and still shivered awake most of the night. i woke to the smell of bacon cooking on a campfire. i'm not sure if any meal has tasted better.

later that day my father decided to go for a walk down the beach. bob and i followed. we were soon distracted by the the shoreline and sand. my father continued down the beach. we played and ran around then we noticed an inland lake. it was blown there by storms. it ran along the shoreline. further inland was thick forest. we followed it and noticed that it was huge spanning several miles. we named it lake superior too. further down the beach it came close to the real lake by about thirty feet. there was a large hump of sand between them.

being an industrious child i decided that we should connect the two with a canal. work began in earnest--bob was always a willing participant in my exploits. soon we had a hand width channel almost completed. it became apparent that the inland lake was several feet higher than lake superior (the big one). so instead of a canal we'd have a little creek. so we dislodged the final dam and stood back to observe our handiwork.

at first it slowly widened and we watched as little aquatic life slid past. then it picked up momentum and widened at an alarming rate. we both barely leaped to the campsite side and a looming darkness crept over me as i realized that my father was still way down the beach and on the wrong side of the new river. we stood there and watched a force of nature dumbfounded as to what we were going to do and how my father might get back to camp.

the river stopped widening at about twenty feet but still showed no signs of letting up. finally my dad came walking back towards us. as he surmised our handiwork i explained that we had no idea that this would happen and was sorry to have trapped him over there. wading across wasn't an option since it was at least four feet deep and very cold. i started to get really sad. then my dad noticed that the torrent had created a sandbar out in lake superior about fifteen feet from the shore. it made a crescent shape and was just beneath the surface--two or three inches. he leapt out to the new sandbar and ran across the crescent and leapt back to our shore. he got a little wet but was relatively unscathed.

have you ever built a river between you and your parents?


pablo said...

Oh, nicely done, Karl. The story itself was worthy, but the ending you gave it is brilliant. If I have a river between me and my father, it's because I'm comfortable with it being there.

My brothers and I used to make dams in the roadside ditch before our house as kids. We seemed to do this all of the time, at least when we had rain.

I think this accounts, in part, for why I wanted to have a lake at my woods in the Ozarks.

Stacey said...

That was beautiful. As a kid my father and I would build dams and canals together. Some of them are still there thanks to the New England clay. Occasionally I will get a note from him saying that he was 'walking along the grand china canal'. Thank you for making me think of this.

Danielle said...

Wow, I've missed a lot! Super yummy looking merlin steaks! Tabitha is gorgeous in her dress! I like the new compost bin. Joe and I took our second evening walk around the property tonight! I forgot how much I missed doing that. Making plans and talking with one another is so renewing. How did you guys know your eggs were fertilized? What do you do about coyote and fox? We have both in our forest and I am about to order chicks and ducklings.

uncle matt said...

Neat story! Never heard that one. And well written! I swear I felt I was there. Sounds like you had quite a daunting project to tackle. And, yes, rivers between us and our parents do sometimes grow unexpectedly wider before we realize it. It begs the question, what do you do about it?

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