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The Lion in winter

Or perhaps lioness in winter is more accurate.

Lake Superior in March 3

Lake Superior in March is capable of nearly anything. Glittering brilliance and waves that crush rock into dust. Sometimes both on the same day. She can lure you in with the promise of hardy, hungry lake trout lurking beneath the ice, beckoning you out onto her surface, only to turn against you in a moment of fury.

She must be respected. The wise know this.

The foolhardy doubt her abilities.

You wouldn't survive for ten minutes in this water, water that's cold enough to frost the rocks onshore with thick coats of ice.

Lake Superior in March 2

The north shore of the lake is craggy. Rocky. Rugged.

Lake Superior in March

For much of the winter, the gentler terrain of the south shore's bays and inlets are blanketed with thick sheets of ice and snow.

And then comes the breakup.

Lake Ice at Breakup

The tectonic plates of lake ice that bump against the Apostle Islands all winter shift toward shore, creating an eruption where frozen water meets land.

Lake Superior Beach in March

Sun and wind once again expose the sand, a sure harbinger of warmer days ahead.

Apple trees, seemingly barren, are already at work pumping food through their decades-old root systems, heeding the call of the sun-siren.

Apple Orchards

Time to wake, she says.

Lake Superior in March

The snow melts, rushing down the hills of Duluth in rivulets and streams, laying bare the earth that waits, sometimes too patiently, for the conductor's signal to begin spring's riot of color and birdsong.

She's whispered to the bears in their dens, Wake up.

The crocus bulbs, buried for months under the weight of earth and snow, have heard it. We can't yet see the green shoots pushing skyward, but soon they'll break the surface, drinking up the sun.

And the people too, doughy and pale from months of shielding themselves from the lioness in winter, are heeding the siren's song to wake and rejoin the earth.

And to all of you already enjoying a revelry of blossom:

Yeah, we get it. It's warmer where you are.

But in this city on a hill, we get to enjoy the unparalleled vistas of four quadrillion gallons of fresh water all day, every day.

We'll see you some tulips and raise you  16.3 million acres of forest, 6,000 rivers, and  11,000 lakes.

And though spring comes a bit later than we'd like, we'll congratulate ourselves for the winter well-braved, the hatches well-battened, and the spirits (mostly) well-cheered.

And we'll welcome spring, whenever she decides to get here.

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Reader Comments (7)

Bravo you! LOVE this! Feel prouder than ever to be from the great state of MN!

March 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAimee Pelletier

Beautiful! And when it's hotter than an oven here, we will all be jealous of you swimming (haha) in the cool waters of Superior (or maybe some other lake. Superior is always a bit cold for swimming, eh?)

March 28, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterangela

Beautiful! I love it!

March 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSheridan

You should submit this to Lake Superior Magazine. Beautiful

March 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterYarnista's Mama

Thank you for the beautiful pictures! I miss Duluth in the Winter and even more in the Spring.

March 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJean Lentsch

Thank you for that. I've been feeling like this Winter has been going on forever. I needed to remember to see the beauty in it as well.

March 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChristy


March 31, 2011 | Unregistered Commentersarah

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