I awaken to the perpetual roar of waves churning just outside the window. It’s dark, early, and the slightest twinge of a hangover pulses behind my right eye. Late in the night, I flung open the window to let the cold, misty late-October wind blow in off the lake from Canada. The bedroom is freezing, and the only thing that compels me to emerge from under the big down comforter is the fact that I’m going fishing.
In Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, especially here on its north coast, water is ever-present. This time of year, steely waves pummel rugged shoreline nonstop so that you feel them even in your sleep. Many rivers spill into the big lake, each with a different feel, a different temperament. They meander through thick overgrowth, deep and tannin brown over murky, sandy bottoms. They rage, frothy and loud, tumbling down the hillsides of dense pine forests. They flow wide, fast and powerful across flat, solid rock. These waters embed themselves deep in the psyche of those who live here. As a Yooper, the water becomes part of you. Maybe that’s why it’s so hard to move away from it.