Michiganders have a secret that’s not discussed with out-of-staters: There is a mass migration that takes place each summer; city dwellers leaving their homes to find peace in the lakes and woods far away. It happens mostly on weekends, starting near Memorial Day, and lasting through Labor Day. We simply call this, “going north.” But the mundane name belies its nature. There’s a ritual to this movement. Routes and stops stay the same from year to year; from generation to generation. These landmarks take on the nature of a chant, an invocation of mystery–the strange and delightful way that a three-hour drive slowly spreads to five, to six, to eight or more. Stopping, shopping, eating, looking, smellingtastingexperiencing all along the way. Luxuriating in the coolness of the Great Lakes wind on your skin, when compared to the stagnant suburban summer air. It’s brilliant. It’s disorienting. It’s liminal. You don’t have to be anywhere any particular when. Space and time lose rational meaning, and become Birch Run–Zilwaukee Bridge–Pinconning–TurkeyRoostWeissKocher’sAlward’sSnufferme! Morning becomes afternoon, trees become more common as cities shrink away, and finally, finally, you jump out of the car, run down a path by your cabin, and stand to stare at the last rays of light shining on the lake which you, deep in your heart, call home. If you are an impetuous child, you may strip off your shoes and stick your toes in the water, before running back to help bring your pillow in from the car. If you are older, you may stay only a moment, but that moment is a promise that you will return, shortly, for a good wade. [Read more…]
Today started with a rude awakening. I was fitfully dreaming of hurtling down mountain roads, when I heard a strange sound outside my room. I roused enough to realize what I was hearing: the sound of someone rustling my doormat. My nerves came on full alert, and I could feel my heart pounding. Glancing at the clock on the bedside table, I saw that it was 5:45 AM. “My fears were founded,” I thought, “someone is looking for the keys!” [Read more…]
Today’s Awesome Thing Is: This Picture
Why I think it’s awesome:
This was another of the “secret agent bun” photos from Paris. I love how completely non-sequiturial it is. The girl shown is named Renae, and she’s from Australia. She and I were staying in the same hostel. I ran into her at the café near the hostel, and just randomly asked her if I could take a picture of her with my stuffed rabbit. I think she was sort of bemused, but went along with it. The resultant image never ceases to amuse me. The only thing I was was that Bunbun’s head was not behind a cup. Seriously, though, doesn’t it look like a conversation between dear friends? Hilarious. And awesome!
Last week, I was taking a walk on my lunch-break from work. I have several routes that I’ve sort of “set” in the years gone by, one of which passes in front of a veterinary office. I was starting down that route, when I kicked a massive pile of dog poo. I was trying to step over it, but apparently my depth perception was off that day. Or maybe the pile was just that big. Seriously–it had to have come from a dog large enough to ride on.
In any event, this did nothing to help my already foul mood. Although I didn’t actually get much on my foot, my favorite pair of flip-flops from Lululemon were completely trashed. They had already taken quite the beating from years of wear from lengthy walks, and I decided that it was probably time to let them go. Looking around, I noticed that there was a woman dressed in scrubs walking a dog passing by. I walked over to her and was trying to ask if I could throw my flip-flops away in her dumpster. I must have had a really terrible look on my face, because she started apologizing and explaining the sidewalk hygiene situation. (The techs clean it up in the morning and evening, but owners aren’t required to pick up after their pets, apparently.) I waived her off and tried to make light of it.
Anyway, the lady vet allowed me to toss out my old flip flops in the garbage bin at the office. Then–totally out of the blue–she said, “hey, I have several pairs of flip flops in my van. Can I give you a pair? They’ll probably be too big, but at least you won’t have to walk back barefoot.” I was surprised and greatly appreciated, and she produced the above flip flops out of the back of her car.
I wore them back to the office, and washed my feet. Now, they sit under my desk as a reminder that there are some very kind strangers out there.