SUDDEN LIGHTIn Praise of the
Hmmm, how often do we fail to see the grandeur in our lives because we mistake it for thecommonplace?
I’ve lived in the
Great Lakes Basin
my entire life. I was born a half hour drive away from LakeErie and have lived a good part of my life forty minutes from the shores of Lake Ontario. Insome ways, the
are a part of my identity. And yet,
I have to admit that I’ve come to
take them for granted.For those of you not familiar with the
they are a chain of five connected lakes
Erie, Ontario, Michigan, Huron and Superior
which form a single interconnected body of freshwater which connects to the St Lawrence River and, ultimately, the Atlantic Ocean. A few examples of what makes
The Great Lakes
so great:They are the largest system of fresh, surface water on Earth containing approximately 21% of
the world’s supply of fresh water –
enough water to cover the 48 contiguous U.S. states to auniform depth of 9.5 feet.Their total surface of 94,250 square miles is roughly equal to the size of the United Kingdom.It takes a drop of water nearly 400 years to travel from the headwaters of Lake Superior to theedge of Lake Ontario.More than 150 species of fish make their home in the
.No one knows for sure the total length of the
coastline. But it is estimated at 10,500miles
roughly the distance of almost half the Earth’s equator.
Dispersed throughout the
two of which arelarge enough to contain multiple lakes themselves. In fact, Manitoulin Island'sLake Manitouisthe world's largest lake located on a freshwater island.The Great Lakes have been sailed upon since the 17
century. Thousands of ships sit at thebottom of them. TheGreat Lakes Shipwreck Museumapproximates 6,000 ships and 30,000lives lost while other sources estimate the number of wrecks at closer to 25,000.In the period between 1816, when the
was lost, to the sinking of the
(immortalized in the classic Gordon Lightfoot song) in 1975, theWhitefish Pointarea alone hasclaimed at least 240 ships.In truth, it is one of the great privileges of my life to have spent 50 plus years in the vicinity of this majestic, natural wonder. I could call up any number of metaphors on their behalf
thesplendour of nature, the unmeasured abundance of our planet Earth, the interconnectedness of all living things. The list goes on.