Last week, I (Jim) was speaking with someone who made a crack that there are two seasons in the UP–winter, and relatives. All of us are getting visitors this time of the year, and a lot of them want to see the things that are part of our everyday life–a great lake, or a mountain, or a waterfall.
I think it’s great when visitors want to see the natural beauty that surrounds us. Because I think that’s one of things that a lot of us who live here take for granted.
A couple of years ago, my sister-in-law and her boyfriend came up. He had never been here before, and he wanted to check out some waterfalls.
Now to me, to someone who grew up here, waterfalls are no big deal. But where he lives it’s flat farmland.
Not a waterfall in sight, unless, I dunno, someone’s combine springs a leak. So when we took the two of them out to a few falls, I looked at it through their eyes.
And that’s when I realized I’d been taking this beauty, this amazing display of nature that’s unique to the UP, for granted. For us, waterfalls are just something we live near.
But for the vast majority of people, this is where you get that picture you’ll be showing friends for years. This is where people who visit us stop for a second and think to themselves… “this is a really magical place”.
And you know what? They’re absolutely right.
There are so many things that we pass by every single day, and really don’t pay much attention to. Lakes, hills, trees…
even things like ore docks, or the view looking across Portage Lake. Because we grew up with those things, because we see them every day, they’re no big deal.
But when people who aren’t lucky enough to live here DO lay eyes on them?
They go home with memories of a uniquely amazing place.
So, despite what a trio of great American philosophers once said, maybe we SHOULD go chasing waterfalls. And lakeshores. And mountains with views so amazing they can take your breath away.
Because even though they’re just part of our everyday life, we should remember that not everyone is as lucky to have them as we are.