I believe that if we listen closely, we can hear themes converging in our lives across given periods of time. I do not believe we are necessarily living in novels of sweeping meaning, but it is fair to say that there is more to it than just saying, "I've ridden my bike a lot lately, therefore this phase of my life is all about bikes." I'll be sticking by this theory, even though I probably have sat in too many Literature courses looking for links and connections across characters and author biographies. The theme this fall involves ships, great lakes, and looking outward.
As the fall begins I always begin itching for future trips which usually sends me flipping through large maps and sliding my fingertip across ink that reads the names of forests, lakes, and remote towns I have not yet visited. This time I dug out my Boundary Waters maps and traced the trips of the past while spinning tales to Becky and Henry of Bears, rapids, and northern pike. I settled into thoughts of lakes in that area I had not canoed across, portages I had not sweated through, and campsites I had not sat in while watching the sun set. I though of Lake Superior right next door and imagined the old days of copper and taconite oozing out of the Mesabi Iron Rage and the UP. There are infinite canoeing opportunities right here in Alaska and I plan on attempting them all, though I'd love to visit the Boundary Waters every summer as well.
When November 10th rolls around the flickering memories of Boundary Waters and Isle Royale crystallize into the phantom Edmund Fitzgerald endlessly lurching across the Lake Superior of my mind. Lightfoot's dirge endlessly feeds the imagination of that day. I picture myself back in Paradise, MI at the museum looking out at Whitefish Bay.
As much as I have always enjoyed Lovecraft, I confess to not loving all of the stories at the same time. Some stories I may never love (Charles Dexter), some I recently "got" (At the Mountains of Madness), and some others I will always love (Dunwich, Colour Out of Space, and The White Ship). Man, The White Ship may not be in the top tier for most Lovecraft fans, but for me it has always threaded a needle of wonder and eeriness with perfection. The mood of that lonely lighthouse looking out over the water puts me at Whitefish Point, and the mysteries and unknown worlds hover just out of reach as I think of the trips and desires out there beyond the maps and coastlines in front of me.