I went to Duluth the other day for a book club meeting. They were reading my yet-to-be-published book Butterflies and Hazel Eyes. The book is about a couple from Bayfield, Wisconsin who find mystery amid the Apostle Islands.
It was midafternoon on Sunday when I arrived in Superior and I decided, seeing as it was fall and the beaches would be less busy, I'd stop by Wisconsin Point. Never one to miss out on visiting the Lady of the Lake, I turned down Moccasin Mike Road and headed to the point.
I love Wisconsin point for several reasons. The first is that I always drive by it on my way into the Twin Ports from where I live so it's an easy stop. The second reason is that it's never as busy as Canal Park on a sunny warm afternoon. On a cool, cloudy, fall afternoon, there's never anyone there, which was the case on Sunday. Thrilled that they finally finished the new parking area,
I parked near the new planked walkways (Much easier to walk on when you use crutches and have a fake leg!) When I made it to the beach, I was rewarded with this view...
Heaven. There wasn't a soul around unless you counted the numerous seagulls, and the lake lapped gently at the shore. It was peaceful and quiet. Tranquil AF as my friend put it when I sent her this picture. I had some thinking to do, so I sat down on a piece of driftwood to stare out at the lake. I noticed this grouping of driftwood and snapped a picture to send my daughter.
The power of mother nature is always strong on the shores of Lake Superior and I sat staring at the mix of old tree trunks when I stood up suddenly.
I cleared off a bunch of sand and suddenly the whole picture came into view.
I was sitting where the arrow is in that picture and what I didn't see at first was the fact that what I sat on was actually part of the same tree. The sand had buried the middle of the tree deeply enough that you wouldn't notice it unless you looked at it from a different perspective. Here you can clearly see once you clear the sand away that the tree is still whole. After I took this picture I sat back down on the upper part of the log and stared out at the lake wondering what other secrets she was hiding.
It led me to think about what we all hide from the world. I got to see the top of the tree and the bottom of the tree, but the middle had been covered by the sand in the darkness. If I hadn't brushed that sand aside, I never would have seen the whole tree. If I hadn't been on the beach in the light, I never would have seen what the darkness hid. I wouldn't have seen its imperfections or the curve of the trunk. I wouldn't have watched as the wind dried the wood until the color matched the rest of it again. No longer wet and hidden by the darkness, it could be its whole self again.
That got me thinking about what we hide beneath the surface that never sees the light of day. What have we buried in the middle part of us that we don't want others to see or experience? Do we bury it because WE think it's the worst part of us or was it buried there by some other force that overpowered the light inside us? If we uncovered that middle part we keep hidden and let the sun and air dry it out, what would it look like? Would we still think it was the ugliest part of us or would we enjoy the feeling of the warm air and sunshine on it again? Would we uncover it only to cover it with something prettier that wouldn't make other people uncomfortable? We bury a lot of things about ourselves that WE don't like when the truth is, someone else might find that part of us to be exactly what they're looking for. When we hide the 'ugly' parts of us, the parts we think have the least value to others, what we're really doing is robbing someone else of validation they might need to uncover their ugly part for someone else to see. Think about how the dominos would fall if we all accepted the hidden parts of each other and found solace in knowing we weren't alone? Think about how the world might change with kindness and acceptance if we all unburied our middles and let the light shine on them.
I stood up off the tree trunk and crutched back to the shoreline, standing against the wind to face the waves. Once again, I was reminded that when I am in that place, even eight years later, Sugar always has something to whisper to me on the wind. Sunday she whispered, "The light shines in the darkness and the darkness shall not overcome it." I wrote about that in Sugar's Night, and it came back to me during a book I was reading this weekend. It reminded me that we can't hide our darkness if we truly want to be the light. I let someone else bury my light. Then the fear of not being accepted and unfair judgment allowed it to stay covered. That ended Sunday and while it will be a struggle, I know the light has to shine in the darkness again...
It was a few weeks after writing this post that I drove to see my daughter and stopped off at one of my favorite places. I had this permanently inked on me as a constant reminder that Sugar lives within me.