Friday, 21 October 2011

St. Marys River, by Mark Stephenson, LSSU Student

The Saint Mary's River is a feature of the Soo which many have taken for granted. In the mind of a local, the river is such basic feature of the land that, just like air, earth, or sky, is simply there. They do not spare a thought as to how strongly the town is shaped by the presence of the river and it's locks, nor to how much money and attention it brings. It is, at most a source of good fishing and annoying tourists; something which separate us from all of those Canadians, who constantly seem to be coming over.
In the eyes of an outsider, however, the river is an amazing thing, both an artery of trade, and source of natural wonder; and ab excuse to buy fudge. Dear old Sault Sainte Marie Michigan may not be the most touristy of tourist towns, focused as it is on such serious topics as it's university, it's active border, and all the fishing, but in the eyes of a visitor - or, I dare say, fudgie - the ago-worn buildings bare dignity and age, rather than just a desperate need for new shingles. Indeed, to such eyes the river is an amazing thing, filled with all sorts of amazing ships and interesting things - this is where a local would complain about the constant noise - and how one can sit on a park bench, and simply watch it all slide by.
But what of the eyes of one who has come here often enough to have such wide-eyed wonder worn away? Someone who is not as jaded, perhaps, as those who have always sat before the beauty of the river, and yet still cannot claim the title of true resident. Eyes such as these do exist, and as a possessor of such eyes, I can attest to the ability to find continuing wonder in such a river as our dear Saint Mary's. While it might not be the mighty, surging artery of trade and wealth that it once was, while it might not be liquid poetry, flowing as it does in it's otiose fashion, it still possesses a certain beauty.
Early mornings, shrouded with fog; this is the best face the river presents. It is the time of day in which the fishermen still move slowly, not yet warmed by coffee and tea, and prepare for a morning upon the water. Will they catch something? Perhaps. For many, though, the goal is not meat for the table; it is peace upon the water. Drifting out upon the water, surrounded by fog, backdropped by the mills and smoke of Canada, listening to nothing but the ripples of fish; indeed, this is the best way to enjoy the river. A joy least appreciated by those who see it the most, and most appreciated by those who see it the least.
Oh irony, how you never cease to amaze.
So whether you be a jaded local or wide-eyed visitor, don't forget to appreciate that which the river offers. Sit before it, sit upon it; contemplate the quiet fog and beautiful silence of the river and the town upon it. Forget not that wonder comes not only from the bright and colorful, but also from the slow and soulful. Those who have look past this beauty, be it due to a jaded mind, an obscured eye, or being too occupied by chapped fingers, I suggest simply that you take the time to reflect; what you'll see will surprise you.

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