Saturday, July 23, 2011

July 21st

I grew up in Minnesota, the Land of 10,000 Lakes. There's actually more than ten thousand lakes in MN, but that's the slogan. When we went to the beach, it was a regular sized lake - you know, bigger than a pond, but no where near the size of the Great Lakes. When I was in Europe we went swimming in a lake, and someone asked me why I was calling it a "beach." I didn't really understand the question. There's sand, lake, swimming... beach, right? Nope, they just call it a lake. A dialect thing, I guess. A "beach" is on the ocean. I guess because there are no oceans in Minnesota, we call anything a beach that has sand, and water to swim in. There's Lake Superior way up north, but there's not much for beaches up there, just a lot of rocky shores. And the water's usually too cold to swim in. It's beautiful, and I love it up there, but it's not what I'd call a beach. When I moved to Indiana, 11 years ago, I discovered Lake Michigan beaches. It's the closest thing we get to the ocean here in the center of the continent. And I don't know what makes it a "beach" exactly - there's sand, water, and swimming, just like the so-called "beaches" in Minnesota. The sand is probably coarser than the ocean's sand. And obviously even this Great Lake is much smaller than any ocean, but it might as well be an ocean, since you (usually) can't see the other side. On an extremely clear day you can actually see Chicago on the other side of the lake, but I've only seen it once in all these years. It really is pretty spectacular. But whatever it is that defines the word "beach," I love the beaches on Lake Michigan. There are several different beaches we might go to - Weko Beach, Warren Dunes (State Park), Silver Beach (where we got married), and earlier this summer we added Covert Beach to our list. They are all very similar - same side of the same lake, some further North than others. As a family, we love going to the beach. It's an all-day event, since it takes over an hour to get to any given beach along the shore. We load up our cooler, water toys, jugs of drinking water, lots of snacks, blankets, towels, and sunscreen, and head out for a day at the beach. It's one of our family highlights each summer. Before we had kids, we'd go several times in a summer. In the last 5 or 6 years we've only gone once or twice a year, but as the kids get bigger, I think we'll be able to go more often again.  It was a little scarier this year with the girls, because they're getting so confident in their swimming abilities. When they were little they stayed more on the shore and play in the sand, maybe putting their feet in the water. Now that they can (almost) swim, they spent most of the day in the water, playing, splashing, practicing their underwater swimming, daring each other to go further and further from shore. It's a pretty shallow beach, so you can swim pretty far out and still touch the bottom. It made me nervous. But everybody did fantastic and had the time of their lives.

1 comment:

  1. LOVE the pic of the girls looking over their shoulders! that would be a great postcard!

    and i love the "beach" too. ;)