Saturday, July 9, 2016

Returning to Gitchee Gumee

There is something mystical about this country.  I looked for and found a copy of "The Works of  Henry Wadsworth Longfellow"  in a used books store in Thunder Bay.  The book was a bit dog-eared and musty smelling but it felt perfect to read from it at the many stops along the way. 

"The Song of Hiawatha"
"By the shores of Gitche Gumee,
By the shining Big-Sea-Water,

"Stood the wigwam of Nokomis,
Daughter of the Moon, Nokomis,"

"Dark behind it rose the forest, 
Rose the black and gloomy pine trees,"

"Rose the firs with cones upon them, 
Bright before it beat the water,"

"Beat the clear and sunny water,
Beat the shining Big-Sea-Water."

I remembered the lyrical poem from high school and had even memorized some of the passages but it did not move me so much as when I read it on the shores of 'Gitche Gumee'.

The water is so clean and clear.


And it surprised me that it had a different taste and smell from the ocean.  

"I believe in going back to the magic of the earth and the lake, the sky and the universe.  That kind of magic.  I believe in that kind of religion. A religion of the rocks, the lake, the water, the sky.  Yes, that's what I believe in."
--George Morrison, Grand Portage Ojibwe 


  1. Toni, Happy birthday greetings to you, too. Joby appreciated your card. Joby and I just sat and read your blog from New Orleans to Gitchee Gummee. What a treat! Joby said it was better than a movie. Enjoy your travels. Love, Kim and Joby

    1. Kim and Joby: Thank you for the comment and the Birthday wish.

  2. So beautiful - both the land and the poem..

    1. Thank you, Nancy. Lynda asked if I was all alone up here. Almost. There were no crowds, few towns, no cities, few boats, and very few cars. I wish only that my pictures would show how 'other-worldly' it feels.