The Beauty of Our Watery World

I was thrilled by my first sight of a great lake in Door County, Wisconsin, but Lake Michigan wasn’t the only body of water we visited. My host took me to various lakes that would normally have seemed like big lakes to me, but in comparison to the immensity of Lake Michigan, seemed like mere puddles.

I don’t have a great sense of balance at the best of times, but as we walked out on the boat ramp at Lake Europe, I had to stop and close my eyes to find my balance. The waves gave the illusion of the ramp floating quite speedily across the water. (Oddly, I could still feel the movement when my eyes were closed, just not as strongly.) Once I found my sea legs, I enjoyed the sensation of sailing, but I was still feeling unbalanced enough that I couldn’t force myself to step to the edge of the ramp. The mystery of the illusion did not keep me from enjoying the beauty of the mostly unspoiled lake, in fact, the illusion helped make the experience memorable.

Lakes aren’t the only great bodies of water near Door County. There are also two bays: Sturgeon Bay and Green Bay. We climbed the 75-foot tower at Potowatami State Park to get a fantastic view of Green Bay. Apparently, if there are no mountains to climb to see the world below, humans build them. And no wonder — seeing a panoramic view of the world helps us grasp the vastness of our nature and may give us a glimpse of our place in the scheme of things.

And my place, for the moment, is enjoying the beauty of our watery world.

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(Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.”)

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The photo of lighted trees is the night view beside my hotel balcony. The photo of the patio with a bridge in the background is the daytime view from my balcony.

Wowed in Wisconsin

Sometimes on this great adventure of mine, I think I’ve seen it all. Well, not truly “all”. No one can. But so many places seem like other places, especially when it comes to shopping centers or suburban neighborhoods. Often one tree-lined road looks like another, or a body of water seems like . . . oh, let me think . . . like a body of water. I worry that I am becoming jaded, and then one day I turn a corner and fall into a perpetual state of awe.

In this particular case, I crossed the iron bridge at Sturgeon Bay and entered what seemed a fairy tale setting. A wonderland. It’s as if the entire peninsula of Door County, the thumb of Wisconsin, knew I was coming and polished everything to a brilliant gleam. Colors seem sharper here, as if every scene has been photo-enhanced to an unreal gloss. I passed a flower box of blooming tulips and narcissus, and had to touch the flowers to make sure they were real. The green of the trees, the grass, the fields look newly air-brushed. The waters of the bays and lakes are an astonishing mix of vibrant blue and teal.

My host has very graciously driven me around the peninsula to show me the sights — and oh, what sights there are! Fabulous jewel-like waters. Forest floors painted white with trillium. Marsh marigolds brightening broody marshes. Farms that look as if they belong in a children’s story book.

Even the shipbuilding plant on the bay looks more mythic than monstrous.

Adding to this sense of having entered a wonderland, we had beef wellington at an English inn that looked like something out of a fairy tale.

As a writer and lover of words, I should be able to come up with a better exclamation than “wow,” if for no other reason than to keep from boring my host, but the truth is, this place has wowed me.

Just . . .wow.

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(Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.”)

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