We have been visiting the Sleeping Bear Dunes for many years, beginning when our children were small and they tried to climb the big dune so they could walk across it’s top to where they could see the water of Lake Michigan. I remember hearing one daughter yelling in panic to me. She was almost half way up and couldn’t proceed because she was afraid she was going to fall of. I had to climb up to hold her tight as we slid down the very big sandy hill.
It is now a National Shoreline and it is possible to drive to the top and walk along a boardwalk to view down the long, steep face of the dunes to the water below. People can go down this hill, but there are warning about the 2 1/2 hour walk back up and the cost that climbers would incur if they needed to be rescued. I can’t comprehend how many grains of sand are making up these massive dunes. These are high dunes!
I was amazed when I processed these photos they triggered my height anxiety. I know I was safe when I took the photos but when I look at them I feel the fear my daughter felt – I experience the fear of falling down the hill.
Last week I was sitting in my reading room by an open window doing some sudoku puzzles, wondering what deep-in-my-brain memory the sounds and feel of the day were eliciting. It was the experience of late summer when the kids were back in school and all was quiet except for some distant sounds, like maybe a rooster crowing and a tractor in a far away field. Maybe the memories are from long ago on the small urban farm where my grandparents lived. It really doesn’t matter where the associations are buried in my brain because they are of late summer and they are so very sweet.
We were having a period of perfect weather (except for some violent storms), more typical of September than the middle of August here at my dot on the map in Michigan. The days were pleasantly warm in the high 70s/low 80s F. with low humidity and a gentle, cool breeze. The nights were cool enough to sleep under a light quilt with windows open to the sounds of the night chirpers. Many times during the day I stopped to breath deeply and slip into the relaxed state of being that I experience at this time of season.
I took refuge in this place where past and present weather-triggered experiences are intermingle, especially taking refuge from the horrors that are happening in Afghanistan, the frightening politics of the far right, and the rising threats of the Delta variant, and all the climate-related disasters. I am trying to wrap my mind around the fact that I can experience the joys of life while there is so much evil and suffering in the world. Does my breakthrough guilt make any sense? I wonder if there is a spiritual connection where I can shed some tears to lighten the burden of some mother and daughter who fears Taliban rules, rape and death?
I am having trouble finishing this post because I continue to be consumed with finding a better work-flow for getting my images from my new camera into Lightroom. In the meantime the dog-days of late summer have hit my dot on the map. It has been hot and humid for the past week and now early fall weather is just something to look forward to.
My flower garden has that late summer look where spring bloomers have either been trimmed back or need to be and summer bloomers are going to seed. Whereas spring has the exuberant energy of new growth and greening trees, and summer has the explosion of blooming flowers and lush dark-green trees, early fall has a tired look. My garden has mostly completed its yearly cycle of reproducing itself through seeds with only asters, sedums and mums yet to bloom (and maybe my morning glory). I enjoy this tired look because it reflects what I experience on good day, the tiredness of work well done. I look at my garden and smile because it is doing such a good job and now I will do my fall chores to keep it healthy.
I need to spend some time this fall thinning out buttercups and daisies that have gone beyond their allotted spaces. I also have to dig out where grasses are taking hold in the middle of clumps. Not easy work for me but I will be more relaxed when it is finished. Weeds tend to stress me out. There are some summer bloomers, like cone flowers and bee balm, that are here and there due to silly planting or self-seeding that I want to put together. Once I get into my fall routine in the garden, I find joy in cleaning up and making it all tidy for next spring. I am given encouragement to keep working by day lilies and irises who are sending up new shoots to get some of the remaining light before they go to sleep for the winter.
Even as this year’s garden is finishing up, I am looking toward future years. As soon as I get all this work done, I will take some photos of the bare bones of my garden to study and mark up as I’m thinking of shifting the ratio of my mixed garden. I think I will be going more towards small evergreens and flowering shrubs with my favorite flowers as fillers in between. If I don’t make these changes I don’t think our aging bodies will be able to maintain this home and we will be looking for a condo. That may mean giving up my purple porch swing.
We spent a few days in the northern lower peninsula of Michigan this past week. One day Jim and I took off to explore some backroads. One of them led to a boat launch to this beautiful sandy-bottom lake. There were no houses on the lake and there was a sign that said catch and release fishing with only lures. There was a couple already there with their kayaks.
We commented on how beautiful the lake is and they said it is their hiding place. I apologized for finding them and their place, and they were gracious. They live in the area so they shared lots of interesting information about the lake, the storm damage from the night before, and what it is like living next to the government national guard training grounds. We also shared stories about getting wet while canoeing and loosing valuables. I sure wish kayaks had been available when we were younger, or maybe I wish I was agile enough to kayak now. My artificial knees make it hard to get my feet far enough under me to get out so I would have to roll over into the water. Not very graceful.
Our friend, Lynn, shared an interesting conversation she had with someone who hadn’t lived in Michigan. She was talking about going to the UP (Upper Peninsula) and the other person said something about the LP. Lynn had to stifle a laugh because she had never heard the Lower Peninsula referred to as the LP. Me neither. We live in the Lower Peninsula and go the the UP for vacations. I wonder if people who live in the Upper Peninsula refer to where we live as the LP.
There is a political/social history to these regions that is probably familiar to all territories. Before the Big Mac bridge was built in 1957 connecting the lower and upper, there was a ferry that made travel slow and expensive. The state capital, Lansing, is in the lower part of the lower peninsula and people in the UP felt very isolated both economically and politically. People especially on the western end of the upper peninsula have felt more connected to Wisconsin then to Michigan. They still do. I’ve been wondering if our references to these two regions reflects the fact that the lower peninsula is economically and politically more powerful or if it is just a pattern of speech that is reversed depending on where we live. Next time we visit the UP I’ll have to talk to some Yoopers to find out.
I think this mural was what drew me downtown to try out my new camera. Every time we drive by I marvel at the beautiful work the artist did. The flower above is esthetically pleasing to look at but it is a part of a larger mural painted by David Rice in 2019.
I don’t seem to take photos of many things in red except for old barns so I though it a good selection for Jude’s “Life in Colour” challenge for August of “red”.