Waves are one of two things. They are either eternal, forever washing up and receding and washing up again, or they are the most temporary of movements. Either they last forever or once they wash onto sand and hit into rocks they are done. I imagine the answer to this question is based on personal interpretation more than anything, but either way it matters. Waves, whether crashing or rolling or just barely rippling, are pretty cool.
My mother strikes me as being far from attuned to the movement of the water. She lives on the lake, and has for more years than she’s lived away from it, but somehow I don’t give her that much water cred. So the other day, when walking down the front lawn of my parent’s home, I wasn’t expecting her to put her hand to her ear and ask me to listen. What she was asking me to do was something I had already done. I had already heard the sound of a wave hitting the shore on an otherwise calm day, and that sound signaled the start of something for both of us at the same moment. It was the sound of a summer wave.
There are waves in the winter. Many of them. They are angry dark waves, hitting shores with menacing intent. They whip up in the middle and surge towards the boundaries, and when close, they make every attempt to break free of their constraint. Winter waves are not friendly waves. Spring waves are a bit kinder, with better intent, but they still stir up on the back of spring storms and pound whatever shore lies in the path of the sweeping front. They are not the same waves as winter, but with a biting wind blowing 44 degree air, they sure do seem to be the same.
Winter and spring waves are generally pushed high by one thing only- the wind. We appear to be tsunami safe here, so geological events wouldn’t create a wave on Geneva any more than Majestic might someday erupt with lava. Which, if that ever happened, would be pretty terrible for those living along Basswood but I would think the event to be pretty cool. We could walk along the crusted rock and tell our children stories about where we were when the eruption happened. We’d offer helicopter tours of the hill, because I know very little about volcanoes but I’m absolutely sure that helicopters love them.
The waves. The wind pushes them up in the winter and in the spring, with nothing but a shore to break their fall. There are boat waves from time to time, but rarely. And so it was, on a sunny May afternoon, with the water lying still and barely a breath of wind messing with the surface, that a wave came towards shore. It was preceded, by a minute or two, by a boat that growled from north to south before disappearing behind Conference Point. When the wave hit the rocky shore, and lapped up against the under side of the ramp, the sound was delicious. It was the sound that caused my mother to cup her hand to her ear and demand that we all listen. It wasn’t just the sound of a wave, it was the sound of the first summer wave of 2012.
These waves will become more common now. It’s just that time. They’ll number just a few at first, and then more towards the middle of this month, and finally a lot of them at the end. The temperature will increase, the water will warm, the fish will bite, and the waves will roll. It’s the beginning of summer, announced again and again by each wave that finds its way into shore.