I miss Lake Michigan.
I do this periodically - I'll read a book or see a program that will whisk me back to memories of growing up within arms reach of fresh water. I miss the washed-clean smells, the lap of the waves, and the gentle hiss of the raindrops falling on calm waters. It was always there, a constant in my life I never realized I'd miss until I moved away.
God help me, I miss lake effect snowstorms. Eh, okay, maybe not so much.
I grew up in a small town, where my friends and I could grab our towels, run through the piney woods and be right there - leap off the boat dock and into the waves - usually freeze-your-heart cold, but so worth it. We had a favorite place to swim and usually had a couple of swimsuits drying in the shower (or flapping on the line) at any given time. Damp sandy towels and stray flip-flops were a given.
Moonlight swimming was the best once we realized boys could be fun too. Nothing more romantic than lying on a float offshore, listening to the waves slap the pontoons and pointing out constellations. I did a lot of shy hand-holding and some experimental necking those summers while bonfires on shore lit up the night.
I was also lucky enough to grow up in northern Michigan, where the Sleeping Bear Dunes were a quick trip away and carloads of us could play among the parks and hidey-places there. Somewhere (I'll bet I could still find it) just before the scenic drive starts is an abandoned area that used to be a water garden, with an area of land shaped like the hand of Michigan and fishponds surrounding it in the shapes of all the lakes around it filled with brightly flashing fish and fountains. It was filled in many years ago but the wildflowers have taken over and its still a magical place. There was a Dune Climb that we would skip school and go out by, toting picnic baskets and coolers, and a really gorgeous scenic drive.
The ocean is not the same.
It's spectacular - I still marvel that I live near! the! sea! but it doesn't smell the same and it's grander and slightly alien. Going for a swim here involves packing the car and a quick study of tides, not a care-free whoop of snagging towel and running for the water.
The spoils are different, too. Not so much beachglass (or any Petoskey stones), but small shells and banana leaf seaweeds. Crab claws instead of crayfish are the gulls' favorite snacks. Every once in awhile we'll see whales (whales! can you believe it?) but its' still so different.....and it makes me long for home and old friends.
I miss those big old sandy hills too.