Begin with Joy

When Expectations Meet the Beach

– Posted in: gratitude

I visited one of my favorite Lake Michigan beaches, Esch Road Beach, in mid July. I like to walk along this beach in the early morning before the throngs of people arrive. To the north of the bay one can see the Empire Bluffs rising 200 feet from the waves below. To the south, Point Betsie juts out pointing west to northern Wisconsin some 100 miles across the water.

Nature at its best. Sometimes the peacefulness of gently lapping waves. Sometimes the roar of the wind and the crashing of the white-capped waves.

This was my first visit this summer. I expected a wide expanse of sand on which to take a leisurely stroll and do a bit of beach combing.

My expectations were not met. At least in a way.

Things had changed. A lot.

Due to the record high lake levels, the vast expanse of sandy beach of years past has disappeared.

Just a narrow strip left between the water and the 3 foot plus dune ledge. There was very little room for walking along the edge of the waves.

I suppose my surprise was not that logical. I had known that the water levels were up. There had been above average precipitation in the Upper Midwest for the past 12 months. I had seen the loss of sandy beaches at other points along the Lakeshore, I just had not thought that it would impact this particular beach to such a degree.  After all, it is my favorite beach.

But water has to go somewhere. It’s always doing something.  Just look at Otter Creek.

Otter Creek flows into the Lake just south of the public access. The wide sand bar  of past years was submerged but the beauty of the reflections in the water at its mouth were still beautiful.

Otter Creek still flowed into the Lake. Its movement continued.

If I am to trust in the rhythms of nature, I know that eventually the water levels will lower and wide sandy beaches will return. Park rangers will once again allow bonfires on the wide sandy beaches – a safe distance from the highly combustible dune grass.

For now I will let go of my unreasonable expectation that things should always stay the same.

Instead I will glory in the beauty of the moment.

I will be grateful.

For therein lies peace.