The Great Lakes are both familiar and strange to me. Familiar because I was born and spent my first 16 years in Thunder Bay, at the western edge of the greatest of the Lakes—Lake Superior. My bedroom windows overlooked the port, which at the time was one of the world’s busiest grain handling facilities. But the Lakes are strangers to me too. You can live near the Lakes, watch them, admire them, but still feel their remoteness. If you see the Lakes in the right place at the right time, they give a magical (though false) impression of being pristine and unchangeable. They have a magnificence that continues to defy human carelessness and exploitation. Therein lies the greatness of the Great Lakes, and the source of my enduring fascination with them.