The phrase “fresh water seas” in my title is from Moby Dick. I wanted to use Melville’s passage as an epigraph for the blog, but it’s too long. So, here it is in its own post:
“For in their interflowing aggregate, those grand fresh-water seas of ours—Erie, and Ontario, and Huron, and Superior, and Michigan—possess an ocean-like expansiveness, with many of the ocean’s noblest traits; with many of its rimmed varieties of races and of climes. They contain round archipelagoes of romantic isles, even as the Polynesian waters do; in large part, are shored by two great contrasting nations, as the Atlantic is; they furnish long maritime approaches to our numerous territorial colonies from the East, dotted all round their banks; here and there are frowned upon by batteries, and by the goat-like craggy guns of lofty Mackinaw; they have heard the fleet thunderings of naval victories; at intervals, they yield their beaches to wild barbarians, whose red painted faces flash from out their peltry wigwams; for leagues and leagues are flanked by ancient and unentered forests, where the gaunt pines stand like serried lines of kings in Gothic genealogies; those same woods harboring wild Afric beasts of prey, and silken creatures whose exported furs give robes to Tartar Emperors; they mirror the paved capitals of Buffalo and Cleveland, as well as Winnebago villages; they float alike the full-rigged merchant ship, the armed cruiser of the State, the steamer, and the beech canoe; they are swept by Borean and dismasting blasts as direful as any that lash the salted wave; they know what shipwrecks are, for out of sight of land, however inland, they have drowned full many a midnight ship with all its shrieking crew.”*
Florid, romantic, brooding, sublime. Thank you, Mr. Melville.
In the same chapter, Melville presents ‘Steelkilt,’ his Lakeman hero. I tried to find a way to use that name in the title of this blog, but it’s just too ridiculous. Instead, Steelkilt is my handle on the wargamers site, The Miniatures Page.
*Moby Dick, chapter 54, “The Town-Ho’s Story.”