Tag Archives: Summer

Cool summer

Ladies at the lake - cool summer

Ladies at the lake – cool summer

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Sunrise on Three Lakes

Michigan’s radiance in late summer approaching autumn…here the sunrise chases cool morning mist from a chain of lakes.

Sunday inspiration: When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer, Whitman

When I heard the learn’d astronomer,
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me,
When I was shown the charts and diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them,
When I sitting heard the astronomer where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room,
How soon unaccountable I became tired and sick,
Till rising and gliding out I wander’d off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.

Unwinding to wind again

We spent the early part of this week in northern Lower Michigan – a day trip to Mackinac Island launched from our several-day base in Petoskey.  This has become a tradition for us over the last several years, a late-August trip together as a family before our free-form summer lifestyle reverts back to the phased rhythm of work and school routines.

“Loving where I live” is a major component of my TGQ (Total Gratitude Quotient), and of course “loving other places within a few hours’ drive from where I live” factors into the equation as well.

Experiencing this recurring ritual getaway affords an opportunity to benchmark our girls’ growth over time.  We pass this way another year older, and that brings a little more clarity to how they’re growing and changing.  We’ve shed the baby jogger and the scooters, and there are no more rides on Dad’s shoulders as we hike into the Petoskey Gaslight District from our hotel a mile out.  New opportunities and perspectives emerge, riding bikes around Mackinac Island and letting them wander down to the shoreline by themselves while we watch from a distance.

This brief unwinding also brings into relief the balance that we try to strike in our lives.  We’ll start the cycle again soon – school will start with the requisite drop-offs and dramas, routines of homework and music lessons.  We’ll measure it off with the Monday through Friday metronome, and learn again together how sweet Saturday mornings are.

Black raspberries and the miracle of electrification

I went out yesterday morning with the camera intending to capture striking, stunningly beautiful photographs of nature – the sun was rising, dew was heavy in the cool morning – conditions were perfect.

Near our house is a through-way of high tension power lines.  I’ve taken our ladies berry-picking back there many times on the trail underneath the power lines, filling our small containers with ripe black raspberries.  Those hikes were as much about the time outdoors together as they were about the fruit.

A couple weeks ago, a cutting crew was contracted by the power company to clear-cut underneath the power line easement.  Everything’s gone now, all the small trees, the sumac and honeysuckle, and the black raspberry bushes.

The trail is still identifiable.

I’m not quite mourning, as I know the reasons why.  This area will grow back over time, and there are other spaces for hiking and berry-picking.  It’s an occasion to consider the tradeoffs of our modern age, and to aim the camera upwards for a change.

Happy Orion Day (yesterday)

For me, August 15th is always ‘Orion Day’, at least since that first time many years ago when I attached some significance to the reappearance of the most recognizable winter constellation.

I caught him scouting out the late-summer territory a few weeks ago, but now he’s determined the coast is clear and boldly makes an appearance before sunrise – he has arrived.  Orion’s presence here in August is a reminder of the cycle through which we all pass, appreciating what remains of summer and looking toward autumn’s rewards.

Wheeling through this cycle again, I think about time passing and our ladies growing up – at my age, life is a stream of events and duties against the backdrop of a seasonal wheel.  But for children, the seasons are a ratchet – this summer of being 12 will fold into 7th grade and she’ll never return to summer quite the same way.  So it’s important to hold those moments, like last night, when she came home from her friend’s house, asked to go back and spend the night, gave me that hug and left with her musical laughter trailing behind.

The wheel turns, and we go around again – but it’s never the same trip and what a beautiful ride.

Cycling in Door County, WI

We returned to Door County, WI the first weekend in August for another brief cycling adventure with some good friends.  A great time away, with some memorable climbs and descents among the sharp hills on that beautiful peninsula.

Our Saturday route was a 50-mile round trip from Fish Creek to Gills Rock and back.  We rode through Peninsula Park, stopping to climb the tower for a spectacular view of Green Bay.

Green Bay from Eagle Tower in Peninsula Park

Horseshoe Island in Green Bay, from Eagle Tower, Peninsula Park

View towards Ephraim, from Eagle Tower in Peninsula Park

Looking down on our peeps from Eagle Tower, Peninsula Park

Ephraim, Sister Bay and Ellison Bay all had their exhilarating descents on the way out and grinding climbs on the way back.  The descents were sweeping, fast and smooth, for the most part.  I personally love climbing, so the intense ascents on the way back provided occasions to gather up strength, dig deep, and pound out a rhythm of pedal strokes, breath and drips of sweat on the lenses of my sunglasses – then maintaining the cadence as the climb levels out and upshifting to accelerate away.

Rest break, Gills Rock, WI

The town of Fish Creek is a pretty charming lakeside tourist town with a nice bookstore and a cool high-end throwback general store to be found among the more typical t-shirt, garden ornament and jewelry shops.  At the west end of town is a beautiful park, Sunset Beach, filled with cedars.  Close to this park is a tiny Episcopal church that dates back to about 1875, with a walled courtyard and a sign that reads ‘open daily for meditation’.

Church of the Atonement, Fish Creek, WI

Gate, Church of the Atonement, Fish Creek, WI

Restaurant, Fish Creek, WI

Sun, set: Sunset Beach, Fish Creek, WI

Clarity wanted – apply within

Sitting beside a body of water at sunset has a way of putting things in perfect perspective. Doing so with kids around magnifies that by 10x or so.

Sometimes we adults think we have it together.  We’ve got it all figured out.  Planning, projecting, we control our destinies, we OWN our careers.  We make things happen.

Then come those times when we realize – no, make that remember, because it’s buried there in each of us – in a crystalline instant, that it’s all about the joy of the present moment – even if that clarity is fleeting, the memory of it remains, to be applied within.

Suspension in the moment

In the meadow on a Sunday morning

Yesterday was an active Saturday – miles & miles of cycling across lower Michigan to the lakeshore, first to South Haven and then north to Saugatuck.  The family joined up with me for lunch at the brewpub, then we headed to the beach for a swim and into town for the Art Fair.  In the evening we dragged ourselves home for some needed repair sleep.

So this morning was slower and contemplative – some early reading, accompanied by sounds of breeze and birds, and then a quick walk through the woods and into the meadow behind our house.ImageImageImageImage