Thursday, August 21, 2014

On the Shores of Lake Muskegon, Wilbo Remembers Caliban of Key West.

Any place can be the still point of the turning world. In my world, where I am looking out over Lake Muskegon, this is a Still-point of my turning world. I have left work behind. I have not arrived home to begin the evening. I am midway between work and home. I have time to stay here and think about work and home and all the reasons why I work or keep a home in Muskegon. To use some jargon, this stop on the Lakeshore Trail has become a third-place, neither work nor home.

I am to the east of Ruddiman Creek, where the lagoon near McGraft Park is joined to Lake Muskegon. I am to the west of the old oil depot, where some of the deepest water on the lake for docking boats awaits some boats to take advantage of the water depth. It is mentioned as a possible location for docking the Milwaukee Clipper, an old luxury steamship that no longer travels under its own steam. A metal knob to my right remains where ships could tie up at port and deliver oil. Or accept oil for shipment. We had quite an oil boom in town in the Twentieth Century, many wells still open.

A loon was paddling by, the profile of the neck slender and curved, the nose pointed. I coughed and it dove under the water, a typical loon maneuver. Loons are threatened on the Great Lakes as they can dive down and feed on algae laced with botulism. Loons are among the oldest birds, and a friend has a poster that talks of millions of years of loons on the earth.

Across the water, Bear Lake Channel meets the big waters, and I can't see the cedar-shaked boat house where seven or eight teak wood boats await owners. These lovingly restored woody boats only go out for shows now and a rare outing or two. A retired Navy man restored them, replacing dry-rot, sanding and applying finish, each boat taking at least a year to perfect. I have heard that huge turtles live deep in the boat wells.

The hour of Six in the evening has yet to arrive, a yet a church carillon has been playing carols on a limited number of bells. I am guess that this is the bells of McGraft Congregational Church, standing high above the east shore of Ruddiman Lagoon. I have to check my memory with a visit as I think I saw a bell tower next to the church.

I have no worry of rain because the picnic shelter is sturdy, a roof of pine boards covered by a metal roof. I remember shelters similar to this one on Key West's southern show, and homeless people slept under their protection, showering under a beach shower and using the bath house restrooms. Last time I visited that beach with a famous dock, a homeless man I called Caliban was reciting King Lear at high waves on the sea. I couldn't help him as I would have to keep him. He had been thrown out of the island's shelter and evicted from a youth hostel where I stayed on the cheap for three vacation weeks. His family was wealthy, and I believed this fact from his mouth. The family was waiting for him to come to himself. Then swoop in, take him home and clean and dress him as nicely as Elliot Rosewater from the Vonnegut Film.

He was reciting Shakespeare. I have a pretension that I am writing literature.

Time to finish my bike ride home and get cleaned up for the theater, a Neil Simon I haven't seen yet.

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