The wind that whistles and whispers throughout the lofty bluffs of Lake Michigan is a special wind. It is this wind that teases the dancing azure water to crests of purest white foam, and sends its hauntingly beautiful song echoing through the dunes. But most of all, it is this wind alone that can blow away my cares and concerns and leave me with a sense of utter peace.
This wind sweeps across the many bluffs of the Lake, along the thousands of miles of its shore. Yet the mysterious peace it brings to me can only be experienced amidst the hidden solitude of the towering giant, Old Baldie.
He had existed on the shores of the lake for thousands of years before I ever set foot upon his greatly-aged shoulders. But he became mine alone for the few summers I lived near his glorious shores.
Old Baldie carries his ancient, rugged beauty about him like a majestic cloak. He has the gentle comfort of a well-worn, but much beloved armchair. His face is dotted with bleached driftwood and pocked with beautiful stones. He is crowned with lavender lady slippers and snow white baby’s breath.
It is at the peak of my magnificent friend that I first discovered the true treasure of Lake Michigan, hidden away from all but the select few who dare to venture past the well-known; a treasure I named the Diamond Sand. Sand so soft it turns velvet to gravel, like an enormous silk blanket draping the cliffs of the Lake; so smooth you wish you could wrap yourself up in it and wear it forever.
Many summer afternoons I’d climb to the crest of Baldie, and lay down, cradled in the soft pillow of his sandy lap, eyes closed. I’d listen to the pounding surf, the lonely seagulls’ cries, the soft rustling of the wind-reeds, the gentle whisper of the fragrant breeze. I’d lay there praying to God about all my problems and listen to his gentle reassurance as he would calm my soul with the wonder of his creation.
There is an old Korean proverb I heard once: “Two things are there that man can watch forever: Fire and flowing water; always the same, yet always changing.” And I know it is true, for countless were the times I would sit upon Baldie’s shoulders, watching the swirling lake, the tossing waves, mesmerized by the intricate beauty of its dance; of the endless array of sparkling blues and greens, adorned with silver caps, like some unearthly jewel.
Then the sun, as it has from the dawn of time, would begin its westwardly descent. The last few moments before it sank into the heart of the Lake was absolutely spectacular. The sun, as it is quenched in blazing glory, turns the Lake into a blue-gold ocean of flame. The ever-changing sky is streaked with vivid purples, wild oranges, brilliant pinks, and fiery yellows, swirled together with God’s own paintbrush in a design so dazzling and breath-taking mere words cannot capture its magnificence. And I believe, gazing out at that splendid show from atop my ancient friend, I beheld a sliver of paradise.