I grew up in Oswego, New York, a small town on a big lake. Lake Ontario was my True North. The horizon was a smooth dark line, the Canadian shore 70 miles out of sight. As a teenager I used to head toward the lake just to gaze out at the water and clear my head.The lake was my compass, a way of getting my bearings as I navigated adolescence. The lake soothed me in the summer, bright streams of sunshine glittering like diamonds on the tiny waves. In contrast, in the winter the lake was wild and untamed as it roiled and pitched against the break-walls and the slate gray skies. It was always comforting to know there was something much bigger than me, a sign of permanence and resiliency. I live hundreds of miles away now, across the Mason-Dixon line. And still my hometown can be as oppressive as the dark skies that predict the oncoming snowstorms, but it is also as enduring and absolute as the lake that stretches to Canada. Place, resiliency, True North. Really, I never left.