IT WAS ONE of the most discouraging photographs to come out of last week’s historic wind and wave storm on Lake Superior.
Junk, much of it plastic, that washed up on the beaches of Marquette County.
Stella Larkin, one of the owners of Rustico, which makes rustic log furnishings here in Marquette, was searching for driftwood on the beach just off of M-28 last Wednesday, when she discovered the stuff in the photograph above.
She collected it in a one hour period over 200 feet of beach.
“It was totally discouraging,” she says. “It was overwhelming. I mean, I’m a collector by nature, but this…this was different. Broken toys, tampon applicators, cigar tips. Cigar tips everywhere. I have this image now of fat white men on boats smoking cigars…” She laughs.
But of course she knows it’s not a laughing matter.
We like to think of Lake Superior as a wonderfully clean, pristine lake. Last week’s storm certainly proved otherwise.
Where’s all the junk coming from? Hard to say, but much of it comes from runoff from the land into the lake. Some of it is just crap we carelessly deposit on the beaches and in the water.
We’re clearly not very good stewards of our lake.
As for Ms. Larkin, she was out searching for driftwood again Monday after the most recent storm, and, sure enough, came up with another batch of garbage from the beach. Lovely.
The good news in all this?
She’s an artist of “found objects” and she’s now planning to create a sculpture of sorts out of her colorful finds on the shores of Lake Superior.
A reminder that in this natural paradise of ours, not everything is natural and not everything is beautiful.
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