Swing low, sweet lake of mine…

This photo, taken at the Doelle end of Fin Family Moominbeach, is an indication of how low the water levels in Lake Superior are this year. This is not a river or a stream or a pong pond (pong?). Well, I guess it is sort of a pond in a way. Just not in a place where there are usually ponds. I mean, usually, that sand that I am standing on is under water.

I haven’t spent a whole lot of time looking up statistics on the Lake Superior water levels this time around. I don’t know if I really need to or not. I grew up on Lake Superior. That is, I spent my summers there and lived in Sault Ste. Siberia (15 miles to the east by road) for the rest of the year. One of my first memories is of lying on the back seat of the Old Black Ford listening to the wind susurrate through the pine trees when we turned onto Birch Point Road, which was gravel back then, don’tcha know. Actually, Six Mile was gravel too. I was five months old. No child seats in those days. By the time I was in elementary school and had a little brother, I/we would bug the living daylights out of our parents to move out to the cabin for the summer the very next day after school got out in June. Even though it was usually colder than blue blazes out there in June. “Mom/Betty/Bubs/Katie/Barb/Grandma, will you watch us swim?” “Yes, just let me get my winter jacket.” When we moved out, The Commander would always issue my brother and I a bushel basket each to pack our clothing and other belongings in. She would pack up the kitchen stuff and the dog and off we’d go.

It wasn’t until a few years ago that the water levels dropped so low that islands would form in the shallow parts of the sandbar system off of our beach unless there was a seiche. Seiche!! A seiche was a rare event that would always send some kid running like heck to alert everyone on the beach. Seiche!!! Everyone would go running down to the beach and out onto all the sandbars. Those sandbars that were usually under water. For my Pacific Ocean area readers, a seiche is a little like a tide except that it only happens when there are unstable weather conditions over the Great Lakes (i.e., thunderstorms). The moon may have some sort of effect on our large lakes but it is negligible to the human eye.

Our beach has always been beautiful but in a crazy sort of way, I love when the water is low because it makes the beach even wider and more beautiful. Alas, I know that it is bad when the largest (probably need to verify that…) fresh-water lake in the world is losing water. Still, I am reluctant to ascribe (is that a word?) this to global warming or climate change. I think that those are important issues and I think that we should all continue to try to use less and conserve energy, et al. But Lake Superior’s levels have been going up and down since whichever ice age created it and we just don’t have records going back that far. So who knows?

One Response to “Swing low, sweet lake of mine…”

  1. Margaret Says:

    Ascribe is correct, yes. I think our mountain snow levels are pretty low which means water restrictions in the summer. Ack.