Waiting for my ships to come in.

April 14th, 2014, 7am

Ah, Spring!

Usually our Great Lakes freighters travel solitary paths. Guided by charts, lighthouses, buoys and global positioning they wend their individual paths from loading to discharge: Duluth, Sault Ste. Marie, Chicago, Detroit, Marquette, Cheboygan (ports with not an English derived name among them).

This early spring finds them flocking into convoys. The past winter as made the great ships gregarious. Only groups of five or six ships can sail the lakes, especially Superior, attended by another ship or two designed to crush a path through a 2, 3 or 4 foot sheet ice or 8 foot windrows of broken ice. They cannot conquer the ice alone. The ice lengthens a 30 hour trip across Lake Superior to 9 days! The dire need of raw materials push sailors back on the freighters almost before the Lake is ready to receive them. The freighters hesitate. These maritime recluse must actually queue up for passage across the Great Lake. So deep was this winter.

I have passed an unusual, numbing winter. This abnormal behavior of our freighters reminds me. Return to usual behavior will reassure me. So I will await these ships and greet each convoy seeking a reassurance that winter has passed. The robins, Canada Geese and eagles have returned but the 30 hour passage times across the Great Inland Sea have not - yet! Until then, I await Spring.

’I must go down to the seas again’ to discover if the behavior of these ships marks that true spring has returned.

Shu and David Wade said thanks.

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Ken Jackson

An avid outdoors man. Retired and retiring, living on the shore of Lake Superior

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