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Photos of Horseshoe Bay on Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula

Chris enjoys photographing the places he visits. He shares these photos as travel articles and also mixes them with creative writing.

View of Lake Superior shoreline from Brockway Mountain on the Keweenaw Peninsula of Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

View of Lake Superior shoreline from Brockway Mountain on the Keweenaw Peninsula of Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

My older son and I drove north a couple of days ago to visit my younger son at Michigan Tech in Houghton/Hancock, Michigan. We did what this family has always done. We observed the world around us, to see what could be seen. We drove further north to Copper Harbor, to the top of Brockway Mountain Drive and out toward the tip of the Keweenaw peninsula to Horseshoe Harbor where Lake Superior ceaselessly, and to varying degrees of intensities, pummels the shoreline.

a long strip of upthrust rock running along the Lake Superior shore line in Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula

a long strip of upthrust rock running along the Lake Superior shore line in Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula

Horseshoe Harbor

This is no normal beach-type shoreline. Sometime in the distant past, a stony conglomerate was thrust upward by forces beneath it. You would have to ask my sons for the geologic explanation of this. Their mother entrusted them with all of this knowledge. She tried to instill it in me, but alas, I have a defective memory. I listen, I read, I don't remember much. But this upthrust, or outcropping, I don't know which, rises about twenty feet upward and is thirty or forty feet across. It runs along the shore, unbroken for nearly half a mile until it rises and falls below the water line across the mouth of the harbor.

Fossilized Blue-green Algae found in Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula.  Blue-green algae is believed to be the oldest form of life on earth.

Fossilized Blue-green Algae found in Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula. Blue-green algae is believed to be the oldest form of life on earth.

Algae and Lichens

A casual observer might dismiss this horizontal monolith as nothing more than dead, old rock. But we climbed to its spine and walked its entire length. Is it only dead rock? My younger son pointed out a whitish blue portion of a rock. It looked like someone had spray painted over the browns, blacks, and reds beneath. It was actually a type of fossil; ancient blue-green algae; a sign that life had once thrived here, or wherever the rock we stood on was thrust up from.

various kinds of lichen growing on rock.  Horseshoe Harbor, in Michigan's Keweenaw Peninslula

various kinds of lichen growing on rock. Horseshoe Harbor, in Michigan's Keweenaw Peninslula

But it wasn't just this petrified plant/animal that inhabited the rock. Everywhere, and I mean covering nearly the whole surface of the rock, were patches of growing stuff; sometimes white, sometimes yellow, then green, red, orange. Living organisms are still thriving on top of the bare rock. Lichens, algae, fungi, all doing their part to break down the rock in order to produce fertile soil for grasses, trees, and flowers.

Horseshoe Harbor in Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula

Horseshoe Harbor in Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula

Nature Is a Metaphor

But this isn't a science lesson. Actually, it is a metaphor. I don't usually like metaphors. I like to see what I see, read what I read and leave it at that. But when I look at the natural world around me, I believe I am to learn something about myself, life, the world, society, even God. That means that metaphor will probably be a part of my life, so I may as well get used to it. Metaphor is not the only way to learn from nature though. Sometimes it is quite literal. I look at the vast night sky, and I know that my God is bigger, more powerful and older than it all.

But today I learned from a metaphor. The old stone, the petrified blue-green algae, created the unlikely seed bed for living organisms of today. There have been some brilliant people on this earth. Some of them I know about and some of them may have come and gone without anyone but their nearest relatives and friends to benefit from their wisdom. They have left the results of their intellectual, moral, spiritual and emotional work behind them. Those thoughts are with us still; sometimes in books and sometimes in folklore and often in "old wives' tales". My thoughts are not original. My concept of God isn't all my own. I have gleaned everything I am from others. I have a wealth of input at my fingertips from people who think and have thought deeply, from people who feel and have felt deeply. I take what others give me and make it my own. I recognize their part in my development. It is their intellectual, spiritual and emotional work that provides food for my growth.

A wide break and then the rock continues along the Lake Superior shoreline of Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula.

A wide break and then the rock continues along the Lake Superior shoreline of Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula.

Maybe, in turn, I will be able to have a positive impact on someone else. It doesn't have to be heralded from the mountaintops or published in a book. This is where the subject I am talking about fits into my philosophy of living. I want to be sober, really, I mean sober.....I'm an alcoholic. I want to be sane. I have spent enough time in a type of insanity. It is part of the alcoholism. I want to be serene. I can create chaos if there isn't already some naturally occurring around me at the moment. Finally, I want to serve others. I have lived selfishly. It's time to give, without expecting anything in return.

Waves of Lake Superior break on the solid rock beach at Horseshoe Bay on Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula.

Waves of Lake Superior break on the solid rock beach at Horseshoe Bay on Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula.

Brockway Mountain near Copper Harbor, Keweenaw Peninsula, Michigan

Brockway Mountain near Copper Harbor, Keweenaw Peninsula, Michigan

Comments

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on September 16, 2020:

Prithviraj Shirole, Thank you. I'm glad you enjoyed the photos and information.

Prithviraj Shirole from India on September 16, 2020:

Amazing information on Horseshoe Bay, Michigan. Photos are too mesmerizing. Thanks for the travel tips.

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on September 24, 2016:

RTalloni , I appreciate your visit to my hub and your comments about nature. The verses you mentioned are among my favorites in scripture. Thank you for the comments.

RTalloni on September 19, 2016:

Beautiful photos and a thoughtful read. Recently someone expressed disdain for my tendency to orderliness. I was so surprised that I didn't think to reply with the truth that so many miss. Nature is one of the venues that teach us a magnificent amount of information about God's orderliness. Indeed, He very plainly tells us that creation speaks of His power and glory and faithfulness and more. Some of the loveliest verses on the topic include Job 38:4-39, Psalm 19:1-2, and Romans 12:7-10.

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on January 02, 2013:

theframja, small world, huh? He loved his time there. He spent a lot of time hiking and snowshoeing as well as studying. I can't wait to get back up there camping. thanks for letting me know. That's great.

theframjak from East Coast on January 02, 2013:

cam8510, glad to hear your son is a fellow MTU Huskie. I also graduated from Tech and enjoyed my time wandering around the Keweenaw.

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on January 02, 2013:

Angel, I am very glad you liked this article. Thank you for taking time to visit and comment.

angel on January 02, 2013:

I like it and thank u so much

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on December 08, 2012:

Hi Theframjak, yes, the Keweenaw is a very special place. I had a son in college at Michigan Tech and spent a bit of time wandering around. Thanks for stopping in.

theframjak from East Coast on December 08, 2012:

The Keweenaw Peninsula is a hidden treasure. I haven't been there since 2004. Hoping to make a trip up to Copper Harbor again within the next few years. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on June 09, 2012:

prasetio30, Thank you so much for visiting my hub and for the kind words and the vote up.

prasetio30 from malang-indonesia on June 09, 2012:

I love everything come from nature. My friend, you have wonderful hub here. Thanks for writing and share with us. Voted up!

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on June 09, 2012:

What a beautiful place! I truly enjoyed your photos and hearing about that part of Michigan and also your thoughts related to nature. Up votes and SHARED.

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on June 01, 2012:

Juneaukid thanks for reading and for kind comments. Don' t tell anyone that algae talks to me. Haha

Richard Francis Fleck from Denver, Colorado on June 01, 2012:

Very much enjoyed reading your hub on the shoreline of Lake Superior where Nature has spoken to you through algae and lichen. Your writing is truly philosophical.

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on May 31, 2012:

Cubist thank you for reading and commenting.

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on May 31, 2012:

MWilliams66 thank you for the kind words and for reading. If you read more of my hubs, please read my profile first. Thanks again.

xcubist on May 31, 2012:

Well said sir! Good luck to you and really nice pictures.

mwilliams66 from Left Coast, USA on May 31, 2012:

Beautifully written. Though I enjoyed the photos, your writing conjures lovely images it's self.

I truly enjoyed your hub and look forward to reading more of your articles.

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on May 31, 2012:

Thanks dee1dee. No matter where you are in Michigan, you can get to one of the Great Lakes pretty quickly. While Lansing might not be my personal choice, it still puts you near a lot of great places. Good luck.

Chris

dee1dee from Texas on May 31, 2012:

I really liked this. I have been debating on moving to Lansing, Michigan. Areas in Michigan have that "Historical" feel to it....And I remember visiting the northern shores as a little girl. Then I felt nothing, and thought of it as a bore. Now I look back and wish I knew then what I know now. Your article is inspiring. Thankyou.

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