As a little girl, I’d sit on the end of our dock, toes in the water, dreaming about love. I found the energy of the lake overwhelming, in the best way, and my heart would ache for this deep love I felt for the pure beauty of this place coupled with countless perfect memories spent on the water or the shore. Sunshine on my face, lapping waves, wind in my hair, no “inside voice” volume rules, sticky s’more fingers, clothes and hair that smelled of last night’s fire, skinny dipping giggles, shooting stars against black skies. It was too magical for anyone to understand. It was my first, true love. It felt almost too good to be true. “Do others know a love like this?” I’d ask myself. I didn’t want to share it, for fear that it would somehow be taken from me, this magical lake experience.
When we’d leave our slice of heaven in Three Lakes, my stomach would ache with yearning to turn right back around. I’d countdown to the return. I was quite frankly, lovesick.
As I got older, I’d let my imagination go on and on about one day bringing boys I loved to this very spot. What was once a desperate need to keep this place a secret turned into a desperate need to share it. Could people even understand me if they didn’t see my favorite place? Could there be anything more perfect than being with your love in the place you love most? I’ve brought many people I’ve loved to the shores and found great joy in seeing them fall hard, too. One such love once told me that they’ve never seen me the way I am when I’m lakeside, that I seemed to kind of melt into the vibes. That it was magnetic and felt like the truest version of me. They said it felt like once they saw me there, everything about me made perfect sense. They said the way that I encouraged them to pause and reconnect with the moment at hand to appreciate beauty and embrace the adventure, even (especially...) when it feels like there’s a lot of hardship or negativity going on in your life, was one of the things they appreciated most about me.
That’s one of my favorite things I’ve ever heard, and that’s something the lake taught me. That’s something true to my core. The moments I disconnect from that feel inauthentic and far from my true self. The lake finds a way to remind me, subtly or NOT so subtly.
Times that I’ve left the lake, I’ve tried rivers and oceans, too, have offered me a different kind of feeling. Lovely and inspiring, true, but the grounded, familiar feeling of the lake is always patiently waiting for me. They say that when you meet your true love, it’s almost like a type of calling home. A true sense of ease in your soul. The lake always calls me home.
While the people I’ve brought to the lake have changed, a lot remains constant about the love felt here. When lakeside, whatever is on my mind and heart seems to process the way it needs to. Hurts are lived for the final time and then washed away. Bliss is amplified and married deeply into my cells. Fun is a non-negotiable. Joy is biggest and boldest. Inspiration reaches all time highs.
Science teaches us how water impacts us on a cellular level. Science also measures the vibrational or energetic frequency of emotions, with love, appreciation and joy sitting atop the emotional scale - love is the pinnacle emotion. So it’s no surprise then that the lake and love are married in my emotions. Ultimately, loving the lake is my soul’s alignment.
And I am anchored to this love.
Images at Sleeping Bear Dunes by Mae Stier Photography. Mae has collaborated with us multiple times and always inspires us with her dedication to the lake. Shop our Letters to Lake Michigan Poem Tee here.
Katherine is wearing the Lake Effect Co ladies football tee.