Friday, July 10, 2009
Life in the cracks at Artists Point
Artists Point in Grand Marais is a wonderful North Shore destination. If you're in Grand Marais and you've had your fill of t-shirt shops or microbrews, head out along the east, or left, side of the bay, through the big parking lot to the big old white house. Artists Point awaits.
Last year, our family was hanging in Grand Marais on the Fourth of July, escaping the bugs of the Sawbill Trail. We had a great visit to Artists Point. We went to the right, toward the lighthouse along cement retaining walls. A week or two ago, I went back to Artists Point, going left into the woods instead of right to the lighthouse.
At first glance, it's a smooth surface of bedrock. The glaciers did a great job smoothing down billion-year-old basalt. Waves wash off Lake Superior and flood away most soil development. Gale-force winds of November storms strip off any tree or shrub that is not fully surrounded bu other trees.
But look in the cracks and you'll find all sorts of life. In those cracks, there's just enough shelter for a bit of lichen to form, a bit of soil to gather.
Lots of three-toothed cinquefoil was popping up in the cracks:
In an old crack in the narrow strip of woods, where deep soil had collected moisture and created a little micro-bog, I found this Labrador tea, in bloom:
In the picture on top, did you see the kids popping out of the cracks?
Artists Point. Life in the cracks.