When we met at the dune (part 3 of 3)


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:


27 responses to “When we met at the dune (part 3 of 3)

  1. I love your posts, Vicki. Thanks for sharing your time with us.

  2. So strange for me, being from the east coast, to think of a lake as having dunes and seagrass and whitecaps. I would love to see it someday.

    I would stay and comment more but I have to go google Petoskey stones.

  3. I am also off to google Petoskey stones! You always help me learn something new, Vicki!

    P.S. I have Merrell’s similar to those, only black.

  4. I think Pet Rocks are found elsewhere.

  5. I have the same response as Mary–it’s as if you have your own private ocean.

    Meanwhile, I think we just has a mini-quake here. 😀

  6. HAD. Oof… I need coffee.

  7. What? You didn’t bring the fishead in for breakfast? I think Audrey could have figured out how to make it delicious.

  8. I love the beach and walking along it. It is very calming for me.

  9. That does look like the ocean. Wide enough so the eye cannot find the other side. There is a sense of looking into forever, past and future, when you can look that far. Doing it in your jammies is the best.

  10. Still kaffeeklatsching?

    You’re a regular Anne Morrow Lindbergh, you know.

  11. That’s what I call a vacation: Sweats 24/7.

  12. That’s the same variety climbing fort left behind on Sleepy Hollow hill that Keli used to climb on with all her friends! It had that same forlorn look of bleached wood and grass grown up all around when we drove past after moving on…

    Happy black friday, dear. Good weekend…

  13. Your pictures are beautiful, as always. A little R&R before the holidays is a great idea.

  14. I just now read all three installments of ‘When we met at the dune’ and I thank you. It was like re-living the weekend all over again.
    How about turning it into a novel?
    ‘Terrorist Hookers at the Dunes in Search of 9 Inches’.

    Much Love,

  15. Great looking hiking pants, Vickster. Perfect for Macy’s, too.

  16. This is a sublime post with evocative photos. You should consider leaving it up for months.

    Everything ok?


  17. I’ve just come back to reread your last three posts. How lucky your women friends are to have each other, and to have shared such a wonderful weekend together.

    I hope all’s well with you and yours.

  18. Vicki, are you okay? You don’t usually stay away so long.

  19. I know that you have all of that Christmas decorating stuff going on for Florida and all, but does that mean you are finished with blogging until after the holidays? Seriously? You will leave us hanging?


  20. I’m calling you. I’m worried.

  21. Are you in Florida?
    See what happens when I get stuck in boxes! BTW…love that colorful picture you must have made on the cold beach.

    My child may be headed your way for grad school… Univ. of Miami and Univ. of Florida are on her short list.

  22. That was a great description of the Big Lake! We lived there a long time .. Traverse City .. and spent much time at the Sleeping Bear. Got lots and lots of Petosky stones! I have even BEEN to Petosky!!! Petosky stones are better than agates, especially when polished.

  23. Okay, now we’re really concerned!! Where are you and is everything okay?

  24. I was hoping to do your Christmas tour last weekend, but could not cram one more thing in that 48 hour time span. I hope it went wonderfully. I echo everyone’s sentiments though, “Are you okay?”

  25. You write so well that I could feel the lake and picture in my mind what you looked like in those bright PJ’s. Seeing a place from your past must have been heaven. Not a care in the world! Woo Hoo!

    Lovely story, Vicki. Thanks for sharing.

  26. …and Big Ernie said amen!

  27. What a beautiful landscape. Lucky you had it all to yourself!

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