At the northern edge of the vast Ohio farmland lies a lake. This lake is one of the largest fresh bodies of water in the world and the fourth largest of the five Great Lakes. This lake is home to beaches, wetlands, lush marshes, meadows, and tons of species of wildlife. Perhaps this lake is best known for a famous battle on it’s shallow waters where Commodore Oliver H. Perry defeated the British Naval Army and secured the Northwest for the United States. This lake is known as Lake Erie and it is the hidden jewel of the Northern Ohio border.
I can pinpoint the moment I fell in love with Lake Erie and the coastal Ohio environment. I grew up taking day trips to the island of Put-in-Bay and long weekends to Maumee Bay State Park. But I truly did not appreciate its proximity or beauty until recently. I remember it was a hot August day about four years ago when I persuaded my husband to take a 25 minute drive to Maumee Bay State Park. I hadn’t been to this park in years and the moment I saw the crashing waves of the Lake Erie waters, I knew I was smitten.
Fast forward four years and we are now frequenting the Lake Erie shore every couple of months. With the historic and rapidly changing times happening in our world, we have been hunkering down like everyone else and not leaving our homes. After four weeks of sheltering in, we decided to take a drive to the shores of Lake Erie.
Typically the Lake Erie beaches are not crowded in spring, fall, and winter (it gets pretty darn chilly and windy) so I was pretty confident we would be one of the few beachgoers. And sure enough, there were less than a dozen people visiting the beach on this particularly rare and sunny Ohio day.
It’s amazing the childlike excitement that washes over me as we get closer and closer to the shore. Jumping out of our Jeep, I was greeted by the sound of splashing waves, a gentle north easterly breeze, and the croon of seagulls circling overhead. There is something incredibly rejuvenating about the shore. As I viewed across the lake to the point where the sky meets the sea (yes I just quoted Moana), I instantly felt as if a weight had been lifted. Having visited the lake in all of its seasons, I have found that each season brings a different feeling. The summer brings happiness, the fall brings reflection, the winter brings peace, but the spring brings hope. And now more than ever, we need to feel hope.
This trip to the shore was extra special for several reasons. The obvious reason is how incredible it felt to be outside, enjoying the simple beauty of nature in all her glory after several weeks of staying home. The second reason is the pure joy of watching Lilly frolic on the beach. She was literally squealing with delight and did not stop running the entire time we were there. And the third reason is how refreshing my soul felt after being so close to the water. These uncertain times have left me feeling exhausted and beach lovers know the feeling of contentment and peace that comes with being close to the water. It just feels like home.
To say our most recent trip to the Lake Erie shore was a picture perfect spring day would be an understatement. It was a trip full of wonder, delight, and new hope. We were all a little sad to pile back into the Jeep, but we know that we will be back soon and that the lake will be here waiting for us.
Does anyone else get sad (read: devastated) when it’s time for the Christmas tree to come down? I don’t know about you, but it’s one of the worst feelings for me! November and December is a time filled with such joy and festivity, and when that all comes to an end, it can feel a little abrupt.