By: Weldon Rutledge
February 10, 2011. The sun has returned to Port Oneida. As the days slowly lengthen, boring us towards the solstice we know and love, I venture from the office in the late afternoon. After interviewing staff the past few days my first inclination is to ski among the boy’s cabins seeking to envision the 2011 crib team fitting together, bringing joy and shaking off the winter rime of the Junior Bowl and the Flag Circle. The wind is whipping my hood around my ears and instead I turn towards our beach.
The Rustic Village looks naked without it’s green canopies in the winter. The slide has recently deposited its snow load to its base, looking like a long green tongue reaching for the first lick of an ice cream cone.
The tennis and basketball courts would make excellent ice rinks this time of year with the work of a properly nozzled hose.
But the beach, oh, our beach, she calls me down to her. Wind whipped, frozen, dynamic ice geysers exploding a fine spray at the water’s edge. A Waters Edge that reaches longingly to close the shipping lanes and unite the Manitou Islands with the Mother Sleeping Bear once again. I observe the beach, our newly built boat rack piling sand-mixed snow around it’s ankles, our lifeguard towers standing sentinel, unbending in the wind, scanning the undulating ice flows. But those otherworldly formations, the geysers, the grounded ice chunks, the rime, the snow, they call me. They call me for their uniqueness, their ephemeral nature; tomorrow it will all be changed again. I clamber out onto parts of the ice. I am standing on top of where we dip! Further I realize that I have rolled kayaks, sailed lasers, and first learned to canoe, in the water that I now stand upon! Sublimity overtakes me. I retreat. Our beach has become a moonscape. I welcome the uniqueness. I love it. I also welcome the return of summer. The familiar beach, with buoys, and sailboats, buddy boards, and beach periods, will be here soon.