Formed by cold waters

The shoreline just beyond Betty’s Pies in Two Harbors, Minnesota (2018)

Keeping a blog titled Blip of Cheer is both audacious and understated.

The title promises cheer, and that I have had in abundance since the time I was little. I guess it’s how God wired me.

Once, my grandma used to tell me, I was walking alongside her on the sidewalk of our small town to the Post Office. She spotted a dime and asked me to pick it up – thinking it’d bring me a small bit of joy. Instead, I picked it up and tossed it back down. “I don’t need this – I have one at home,” I said plainly and continued on.

When I’m fully being myself, I still carry reactions like that throughout the world. No desire to fill up with extras – what others pine after, I toss back and keep walking.

Yet there’s a melancholy side. And when I was young, and our family would visit the North Shore, I would feel both sides deeply affirmed. All along the return trip home, my soul would feel inflated for the next season of my ordinary life that was riddled with feeling socially awkward and on the edges of whichever group of peers I found myself bound to.

Cheer – because of the simple joy of hunting for rocks. I didn’t hunt for extraordinary rocks like agates, jewels in the rough. I looked for rocks that epitomized Lake Superior. That could be a large, round, smooth gray stone. Or … a small, round, smooth gray stone. No, ha, I’m kidding, only a little. Let’s just say I collected lots of those and never tired of them.

I’d find stones that spanned the spectrum of shades you find on the shoreline – salmon, muted red-purple, chalky white, sandy, and pebbled granite. Toss in the occasional beach glass and driftwood.

My goal was to assemble a collection that represented the whole.

Melancholy – because of the cold, undefined waters. Define the color of Lake Superior – you can’t. It’s blue, it’s green, it’s gray, but none of those.

And the temperature – it’s always very cold. Some brave souls claim they’ve swam in the lake, but I think they were only trying to prove something.

These cold, undefined waters mirrored my soul and brought me back to life again and again.

I felt the Lake performed what I aspired to: being a unique presence in the world – unrelenting, a harbor of joy.

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