I know. You thought I would get distracted before I got this far, as I usually do. I have as many UFPs as I do UFOs. But I did want to finish this up, just to say that the other joy of returning to Michigan this past weekend was to get in touch again with The Big Lake. The lake of my childhood. More like the ocean of my childhood. Michigan is a real beauty of a lake, with some of the finest dunes and beaches in the world. Cold in late June, warm in late August and rolling waves that can really turn into white caps every now and then. The only lake in the world where you can find Petoskey stones.
Driving out of Chicago along Lakeshore Dr and then through Gary, Indiana it was gray and chilly. Just as I rounded by Benton Harbor, Mi the sun came out and I felt as though Someone had dropped a big gift on me: the leaves were still on the trees, in good color- lots of reds and yellows and oranges mixed in with great white pines. A lot of people in Chicago go to some place called New Buffalo- a Michigan destination I had never heard of before moving here. It’s about 4 inches inside the state line so I guess they can feel as though their vacation home is “over there, in Michigan.” Really, my opinion? It doesn’t get good until about South Haven when the dunes take on some height and there are long empty stretches of pale sand and deep blue water.
My friend has had this family cottage for decades and so this is the place on the big lake where I brought my children in the summer when they were little. Here is the climbing fort Dan and Abby played on during vacation weeks.
This past weekend the beach was deserted when Audrey and I headed out for a first light walk. I loved walking up and down the path through the dune grass to the sand where there was not a single footprint. All during our walk we encountered just one dead Coho head and one lone seagull. That’s an empty beach.
The waves were up a bit and the sand formations were intricate. The dune grass all along there is protected so it rolls in vast tilting expanses as far as the eye can see.
Because of the time of day and the solitude it seemed like a fine opportunity to head out just as we were, in our pajamas. I also wore some hand-knit mittens and cap, a sweater that belonged to my mother and my winter vest. A real vision, I tell you. Here’s a glimpse: