The Youthful North

The Youthful North

We slept like dogs by the fireside and awoke to the fog, as it was all around us. As the morning glow shudders across the bitter breath of Lake Superior, the cry of loons can be heard from the base of the channel. The remnants of instant coffee and oats permeate from my nostrils to my mouth; we are taught that home is where the heart is. Isle Royale, as fickle as she may be, has mine.

As I type this blog on a cliff edge, I cannot begin to do this ecological oil painting justice through words. This refuge is built on these awing dynamics from cliffs to caves and from moose to moss. I get lost on ridges that are glittered with rock-harlequin and three-toothed saxifrage, heart so full from the excitement of Lepidoptera swirling in the spring air. Lungs filled to the brim with sweet, cold air that makes me wish exhaling was not necessary. As I walk among these conifers, bug net in hand and iNaturalist loaded up, I begin my surveys for pollinators. I cross paths with visitors in various combinations, mothers, daughters, sons, fathers, friends, and partners. They speak in excited tongues of the colors that dart in the air, the songs of winged friends, the moose that saunter, and have the memories that lie within these trees. So much passion is held within these people, that it warms my body more than the sun’s aggressive rays. Love of the natural world and endearment from words spoken by Humboldt are held by spirits from across the country.

When the pollinator project is not on the itinerary for the day, I can be found where the green moss grows. Whether ankle-deep in a beaver-produced bog, attaching an acoustic bat monitor, or possibly marching along moose trails for signs of browse. Terrestrial barriers do not bog down exploration, out on the glassy waters of lake superior we can be found traveling to our next transect or assisting in lake trout spawning surveys.

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