Saturday, November 30, 2013

Playing Around the Great Lakes

I’m told that children learn through play. From what I have experienced, I believe that adults learn through play also. Our family has been playing in, on and around the Great Lakes most of our lives. We have learned a lot while we swam, boated, fished and beach combed. The lakes engaged all our senses: the splash of cold water, the sound of the waves, the silence of fog, hot sand underfoot and the way it sings when you drag your toes across it, the ever changing colors and rhythms of waves, the times fish bite the best. The Great Lakes have many lessons to teach if we pay attention. Family vacations took us to all of the Great Lakes; the majesty of Niagara Falls; to the rocky shores of Lake Superior where we hunted for agates; to many embayments and open waters of the lakes to fish. My husband Norm, a gung ho fisherman, has caught nearly every kind of fish in the lakes: walleye from Lake Erie and the embayments of the upper Great Lakes, deep water fish such as lake trout and burbot, and the annual runs of white fish and perch from the pier at Grand Haven. When Pacific salmon were planted he found a bonanza of fish. Sometimes the rest of the family fishes with him: myself, our daughters and our grand children. When he took our first grand daughter, age three, fishing for salmon, he let her pull in a big coho...almost as big as she was. Then he asked her later if she had told the kids in the neighborhood about it. She said, ”No. They would never believe it.” We have all learned so much from the Great Lakes; their ever changing colors, their beaches of stone or sand, waterfalls, fishes and birds, wetlands , and dunes with their succession of plants. In our play around the Great Lakes, we are always learning something new.

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