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Fine Tuning: Sorry About the Mixup

Some of you likely got a jumble of sentences & paragraphs on their desktop. Others had no text on their cell phones. I do apologize. Things should be fixed now. If not, please email me. Thank you for your patience. Hope you enjoy "Pilgrimage," recently published at Cheers.


“But the seas of the world are salty; this lake is like a

colossal diamond, clear, pure, sparkling, lying like a

heaven-lighted gem in a bowl of rich greenery

fringed with a lace-work of chromatic rocks that take

on the most weird and enchanting shapes.”

“Along the Bowstring of Lake Superior”

by Julian Ralph

We live in a singular place. No doubt, many others feel the same way

about where they live. But mention to anyone in the state where you

are from, and there is either a nod to the cold or a light in the eye.

We still represent wilderness, natural beauty, remoteness, the old

way, and our centerpiece is Lake Superior.

People come here, I believe, almost as a pilgrimage. It’s not quite a

“trip to a holy place” (Cambridge), but almost. For some, it is spiritual. For others, it is a coming home and a return to places they knew when they were young.

Still, for others, it is what Sigurd Olson described as a “jumping off

place,” not only to the canoe routes but of soul and spirit. We come

here to regather, to refresh ourselves, to touch back to the old values, to be lifted.

We take these pilgrimages not because we have to. The place

doesn’t need us. But we come because we want to remember. We

want to be reminded.

Just this past week, my wife and I went up the Gunflint Trail to a camp where we met. Why? Why did we go? We met here, and, it just so happens, it was our anniversary. There are secret memories at Seagull Lake only known to us.

Pilgrimages are places we go to “show our respect.” (Cambridge Dictionary) It acknowledges something important happened at this place. There is a person, family or friend we wish to honor. Sometimes, we also go seeking.

We are fortunate in the Arrowhead that many come to pay tribute to some past part of their lives. Our town is a place of pilgrimage for many.

Perhaps it is the long drive up from Duluth where we finally arrive and catch that first glimpse of expansive blue water.

But, more than this, it is a return to the lake, for some mystical in its power and majesty. For others, the latticework of lakes, a return to a part of the past that is so outrun now. For still others, it is a time of memory. And for others yet, a time of discovery.

All this, from our little town.


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