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  • Writer's pictureDan Robinson

Autumn in the Great Lakes: a Photo Essay

Autumn is a time for reflection. The colors call us to that. For your own reflection, here are photos from the Great Lakes Basin and words to accompany them, some from this Project (with links to the original post) and some from other sources. May this season, even in the midst of a pandemic, be for you a bountiful harvest.


Go, sit upon the lofty hill, And turn your eyes around, Where waving woods and waters wild Do hymn an autumn sound. The summer sun is faint on them — The summer flowers depart — Sit still — as all transform'd to stone, Except your musing heart.

-an excerpt from "The Autumn" by Elizabeth Barret Browning

Peninsula State Park, Door County, WI


"We are of this land, and these rivers flow through my veins. There is no separation. I am of it. Our language is of it. We see this Earth as a mother. We come from her. We are the physical manifestations of her. What we do to her we do to ourselves."

-Anahkwet, a member of the Menominee Nation and Exec. Dir. of Menikanaehkem

The Red River on traditional Menominee land; Shawano County, WI


I will sing of the well-founded Earth,

Mother of all, eldest of all beings.

She feeds all creatures that are in the world,

all that go upon the goodly land,

all that are in the paths of the seas,

and all that fly;

all these are fed of her store.

-Homeric Hymns XXX, English translation by Hugh G. Evelyn-White, adapted by Elizabeth Roberts

Algoma, WI


"Water is life. It is a sacred gift and trust. Water is a teacher, connector, healer, blessing, purifying and sustaining force. We love water. We thank and respect water. We ALL are water."

-Huda Alkaff, Founder and Director of Wisconsin Green Muslims

Whitefish Dunes State Park, Door County, WI


"As long as autumn lasts, I shall not have hands, canvas and colors enough to paint the beautiful things I see."

-Vincent van Gogh

Purple Fall Asters


“There has to be a meaning to why we live by water, our connection to water. We have to understand that, whether it’s spiritually or not. We have to understand that important connection to water, and how it gives us life and creativity and freedom and fun and joy.”

-Mark Mattson; President and Co-Founder of Swim Drink Fish

Algoma, WI


One leaf left on a branch

and not a sound of sadness

or despair. One leaf left

on a branch and no unhappiness.

One leaf left all by itself

in the air and it does not speak

of loneliness or death.

One leaf and it spends itself

in swaying mildly in the breeze.

-David Ignatow

Point Beach State Forest, Wisconsin


"The native people who have been fortunate enough to remain on their ancestral lands have this really deep connection. It’s almost like a dance. If you are connected to land for such a long time, you sort of adapt yourself to the rhythms of the seasonal cycle."

Cave Point County Park, Door Co., WI


“The Lakes are always a source of refreshment, spiritually. When you spend a couple of days by them I think it naturally gives you hope and the strength to carry on.”

Bay of Green Bay


"I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers."

- L.M. Montgomery, in Anne of Green Gables

(All photos by Dan Robinson)

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