The Largest Inland Sea


When I still worked downtown, this was one of the views on my daily walks – Burnham Harbor.


This is my husband, the professional photographer at Wolfshead Photography.  I have a lot of photos of him taking pictures, because that’s the state in which he’s most serene and at peace.  Behind him is a view of Chicago and, of course, the lake.

Locals call it “The Lake,” because it dominates everything on the east side of the city.  Lake Michigan is fresh water and is bordered by four states:  Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Indiana.  It’s not that huge on its own.  The largest freshwater lake on the planet is considered to be Lake Baikal, in Russia.  However, if you were to consider all five of the Great Lakes that sit between the U.S. and Canada as one body of water, it would comprise the largest inland sea – larger, even, than Lake Baikal.

When I moved here from the West Coast, something didn’t sit right with me about the lake.  I could never quite put my finger on it.  It feels like the ocean and it’s even got little waves.  “There’s no salt,” a New Yorker friend of mine advised calmly.  “Pardon?”  “The lake.  It doesn’t smell right to you, does it?  It’s the salt.  There isn’t any, because it’s fresh water.  So it smells wrong to you.”

Huh.  Darned if she isn’t exactly right.

The prevailing current isn’t Chicago’s friend, coming down from Wisconsin and scooping out the beaches to deposit them in Indiana.  Most of the lakefront is built up and has breakwaters and other measures to prevent further soil erosion.  But once on a visit to the Michigan shore, I was stunned to find out their beaches remind me of L.A. (Los Angeles, California, USA).  Large swaths of sandy beach, gentle waves, even people out sunbathing and swimming.

But from late October to late April, the lake is a bitch goddess.  Boats and ships do not sail her waters or do so at their own peril.  There are several stories of awful shipwrecks on Lake Michigan and the rest of the Great Lakes, as well as folksongs.  One of the most famous is “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald,” which is about “the lake they call Gichigami,” which actually refers to Lake Superior and its name in the language of the First Nation peoples, the Anishinabe Ojibwe.  Based on a real-life tragedy, the song by Gordon Lightfoot immortalizes the men who sailed Lake Superior and tried to get one last trip in before winter shut them down.


Thank you for joining us for the A-Z Blog Challenge.  If you’re blogging in the challenge, please leave us a link so I can come visit you too.  If you have a moment, please check out these other fine blogs:

The theme at Noony’s blog, Explore the Worlds of A. Catherine Noon, is The A To Z of the Zoo.  Join her as she explores Brookfield Zoo and finds animals, birds, and insects from A to Z.

Noony’s theme on Knoontime Knitting – One Writer’s Journey Into 3-D craft blog is Letterforms In Nature and the Built Environment.

The Nice Girls Writing Naughty have a new home, and we’re blogging in the challenge again this year.  Throughout the month you’ll be hearing from each of the Nice Girls, and during the RT Booklovers Convention from April 12th to the 17th, you’ll be getting live convention reports.  Join the conversation!

The Writer Zen Garden’s brand new website is up and running, and we’re bringing you posts from Noon & Wilder; the talented Darla M. Sands – a blogger in her own right, see below; as well as Grace Kahlo, Evey Brown, and author Tina Holland.  Check it out!

Our friends who are participating in the challenge (and if you’re not on this list, tell me and we’ll add you!):

Write on, and Happy Blogging!



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