I started thinking about fingerprints A few months ago when we were in Washington state and marveling at the massive wheat fields. They are monuments to how humans have Learned to control the land, and yet, for all the bounty mother nature yields, she also seems a bit annoyed at us – sending wildfires to even her most fertile fields – for imposing our lines on her curves and, in some cases, for not picking up our stuff when we’re done.
No place inspires that supposition like Lake Michigan. our family has been congregating along southeastern Shores sense that early part of the last century, and even in my lifetime, mother nature has seen our family and neighbors devise ingenious and herculean devices and walls to slow down the erosion of the dunes and preserve our beaches.
as you walk along the beach, you can see the relics of previous generations’ attempts to control her. There are massive concrete blocks almost buried by sand and, more frequently, decaying wooden breakwaters jutting out from the dunes to the beaches and occasionally to the water. some breakwater seem to be more successful than others, but, since we have not seen many new installations in the last two decades, it would appear that more people have decided to work with mother nature rather than against her.
About 20 years ago and our family and neighbors, taking a hint from mother nature, begin planting dune grass up-and-down the bluffs at the edge of the beach. We had seen dune grass control the erosion beautifully in other places, and over the years it is been infinitely more effective than any engineered solution we’ve tried.
I think mother nature likes it, and she has let the beaches recover. The breakwaters are still there in some places, leaving a human fingerprint that will last for some time, And, judging by the amount of sand that mother nature tries to dump on them, I think she’s trying to get us to pick up our stuff now that we’re done with it.