“Is water wet?” The peculiar, seemingly obvious question actually sparked a viral debate across the internet during quarantine last year. (In our defense, what else did we have to do?) While a quick Google search reveals people continue to have mixed views on that topic, one thing we can hopefully agree on is that more than 70 percent of the earth’s surface is engulfed in water. According to the Bureau of Reclamation, though, only 0.009 percent is found within the lakes that dot our communities. That means if five gallons represented all of earth’s water, freshwater lakes would account for only one-third of a teaspoon. Let that soak in.
Given that statistic, putting down roots in a place where several lakes are just a short trek from our home—sometimes situated in our own backyard—is a rare luxury. Personally, I’m lucky to have nearly two dozen within a 5-mile radius of my south suburban abode. (My husband says his favorite to kayak and fish is Orchard Lake, but don’t tell him I told you!)
Not only is our planet’s water home to hundreds of thousands of known—and unknown—species of marine wildlife, but it also plays a critical role within our own homes. We use water to cook our meals, clean our clothes, water our lawns and gardens, and more. Just as the functionality of water has myriad forms, so does the design of the homes we build to celebrate it—from modern and eclectic to classic and rustic, there’s no shortage to styles that match its far-reaching versatility.
That design diversity is proudly on display in this summer issue of Midwest Home. And although I didn’t grow up in a traditional-style abode on Lake Minnetonka or cabin getaway on Upper Gull Lake (both found within these pages), I was raised in a small river town along the mighty Mississippi. To this day, I relish the opportunity to visit home, or my grandfather’s cabin on Split Hand Lake or father’s land near Lake Pepin. Whenever I’m there, that third of a teaspoon fills my cup to the brim.
But I admit, until I put together this issue, I didn’t fully realize how special it is to live in this glorious land of not 10,000, but 11,842, lakes. It was the gentle reminder I needed to appreciate how water’s life-giving qualities cannot be measured or quantified—nor can the memories it creates when enjoying time spent near or on it.