Not Your Tour Book Michigan
Maybe I’m trying to do my mind-bending tricks – you know the ones. Where we make ourselves believe that things are better, easier, or okay when life isn’t really that good. We are back in Michigan for the holidays and the cold is really doing a number on my body so I’m being slowed down by that silly nondescript pain. And Michigan looks oh so much different than southern Florida. I have brought memories north – of walking out my door and picking a grapefriut and the hibiscus planted around the pool.
But oh, how I love Michigan – even on the first of December. Since I have been seeing life through my camera lens, I have been trying to identify what it is that I love about Michigan at this time of year. The cold feels good. It isn’t so cold that it hurts my skin – just cold enough to make me feel alive and invigorated. It is a little sharp against my face. But I can’t take a picture of that feeling.
I also love the flicker of light as I am driving down country roads lined with trees. The trees are bare and the sun is low in the sky, so no matter the time of day there are shadows across the roads. We don’t get much sun because the cold air picks up moisture as it travels across the warmer lakes – the flickering sunlight is a blessing. In Florida the blue sky and constant sun gets boring.
Thursday morning the sun was out and I took a drive in the country – on the roads that aren’t highlighted in the tour books. I took the country roads just south of where we live – the route we take when we go to Yukon Jack’s, the bar where we can get great fried fish and baked potato on a Thursday night. These are the country roads where traffic is light so I can pull over to take pictures. I was searching for the beautiful brown and tan and black and cream and taupe and splashes of green that make the winter landscape so beautiful. The stark lines of naked trees, the red barns, and blue ponds that now look so cold.
I was having a good time finding the images that I had in my mind until I got sidetracked. I saw some steer in a small field, close to the road, lounging around their water tank/cooler – probably gossiping about the farm down the road. I pulled over and jumped out of the truck with camera in hand. They immediately took an interest and lumbered up on their
feet hoofs and started towards me.
Now I’m not used to being charged by big animals with big horns but my gutsiness held in spite of my mounting anxiety and I just kept clicking as they got closer and closer. I think I had too much faith in the flimsy wire fence between us. However they seemed more curious than threatening as they approached – as if I know how to read bovine nonverbal behavior.
This one is definitely the dominate one as he(it?) did most of the shoving to get close and gave me the “eye” to say back up a little – making sure I saw the horns. I wanted to reach over the fence to get some different angles but I refrained.
And they did this “head lowering” move a couple of times that concerned me – especially when they also did some low-keyed snorting. Do you think this fence would hold an animal this big if it really wanted to charge me?
I think they just wanted to be friendly – this one wants to give me a little kiss on the cheek (I declined).
After getting my photos, I started towards my vehicle and wouldn’t you know it, they followed me down the fence. Maybe they were just bored and I was a diversion from the same-old, same-old of eating and pooping.
About the time I was contemplating if I was lost and thinking about retracing my
steps tracks, I saw this sign. I knew this farm was in the area and I needed to investigate.
I was able to find a few of these transplanted Texans in a field around the corner. They weren’t as friendly as the ones I met at the other farm. Do you think it is a bit of arrogance because of the extra long horns? After a quick look, they totally snubbed me. Not like any of the Texans I’ve ever met, who were very friendly and warm.
Maybe they had learned not to approach the fence. I had a little bit of anxiety as I used the outer wire to steady my camera.
I also had to pull into a drive to take a picture of this for Gary Schollmeier who loves to balance stones in the river bed. These were made from field stones. No shortage of these babies that were left behind by the glacier.
I understand that people come and get them in the counties that have lots of farms and then sell them for big money to people in Ann Arbor who use them for landscaping.
- Make It a Real Michigan X-Mas: Growers push to buy local (fox17online.com)
- My Michigan (nativemichigander.com)
- Polar Plunge To Be Held at Michigan Stadium (detroit.cbslocal.com)