Now that it’s summer, many of us long to be by the shore. Great Lakes Radio Consortium commentator Bob Hamma nurtures a dream of a lakeside cottage, but reflects that he really wants something more than ownership:
Now that it’s summer, many of us long to be by the shore. Great Lakes Radio Consortium
commentator Bob Hamma nurtures a dream of a lakeside cottage, but reflects that
he really wants something more than ownership:
I often dream of owning some land on the shore. Living less than an hour from Lake Michigan,
I think it would be wonderful to have a place to go to, not just in the summer, but throughout the year,
a place where the ever-changing patterns of the lake and dunes can become a part of me.
I remember reading a comment by the Native American writer Brenda Peterson about her love
for Puget Sound in Washington, “I may never own land even if one day I might afford it.” Her words
What do I really want? Is it a cottage with a view? A private beach? No, what I long for is
not ownership, but the opportunity to let the call of the shore sink more deeply into my soul.
Being at the shore fosters a certain quality of attentiveness to life, an ability to live in the present
moment. Perhaps it’s the fact that things are always changing there, yet in another way, they are always
the same. The color of the lake, the size of the waves, the strength of the wind, the patterns of the
clouds-all these change from hour to hour. Yet the lake is always there-timeless-almost awaiting
It’s as if it were calling me to take some time away from my life and gain a new perspective. But the
shore is not just a place of retreat. It is a place of encounter, where life’s incredible complexity, its constant
struggle, its subtle rhythms are ever present for one who looks. The call of the shore is an invitation to live
in the present, to see life each day in its richness and diversity.
I don’t need a cottage for that. I simply need to be there, to put some time aside and go. But it’s
a struggle to respond to that call, to break away from the busyness of my life. Indeed, the issue is not
whether the lake belongs to me, but whether I belong to it. To truly belong there, I must listen to its call,
I must be long there.
I can’t promise that I’ll never own a piece of the shore, but for now, I’ll try to practice the kind
of attentiveness to life that it calls me to. This way, if by some amazing luck I can afford it, I’ll be ready.
Host Tag: Bob Hamma is a writer who lives in South Bend, Indiana. He comes to us by
way of the Great Lakes Radio Consortium.