Sunday, July 11, 2010


The Fox River [Hemmingway's the "Two Hearted"] near Seney, MI --Photo by M.M.

Last week Ande and I were in Michigan's Upper Peninsula camping in a tent, swimming in Lake Superior, and visiting old friends at a cabin built in the forest, and giant old growth white pines. So no writing, but renewed spirit of still being able to live outside, despite rains, and a decrepit tent, relic of many past expeditions when our four kids and we were much younger. We were surprisingly comfortable, dry and bug free, within faded yellow/maroon backpacker style nylon and patched mosquito netting.

The air was fresh clear pine scented. The water bracing translucent and 20 degrees warmer than usual for early July. We discovered a new favorite spot on the east shore of the Keweenaw Peninsula. A rock plate of Jacobsville red sandstone juts out of the sand beach into the water for a hundred feet and then slopes or forms a ledge dropping down six feet into the blue green beyond. You can wade out on it, a mixture of white sandstone and greenish copper oxides trapped in its brick-red flatness, like a hard beautiful intricate patterned marble cake. With small sea cliff variations of a couple feet, this rock and water tabletop extends along a half mile of shoreline.

To see and feel it you must be there*

Ande found many rock art treasures to add to the collection of more than 32 years of travels together—a geologic travelogue that dots the various corners and bends of our yard in Port Huron, giving definition to the flowers.

On the last night of our trip north, most of the six nights outside, when we both thought we'd settle for the backup of a motel room, we ended up in a municipal campground on Lake Superior shore west of Munising. We took the last tent campsite available. But the place didn't feel as crowded as it looked. Our site faced the great lake, forested islands, and burning crimson sunset.

As we sat a ways back from the soft waves, on the placid big lake, a family of mom, dad, and 3 young boys {maybe 10, 7, and 5} walked by on water's edge. The middle boy was making the most noise, and they all moved disjuncted, the parents punctuated by the kids—but yet all happy to be there. On return pass 15 minutes later, mom a bit more stretched out ahead, dad and kids trailing, we greeted them. The dad said, "It's a beautiful sunset." I answered, "Yes, and it's good of you to be bringing them here to see it."

From the chair next to me I felt the tears welling in Ande's eyes, as they do so often and passionately, when the right thing is done said or remembered. In her eyes were the memories of the two of us with our kids--many camping adventures. Love of the outdoors, and of each other, and blessed that we can still do these things, and see other families continue the trip back to nature.

Image by Kathy Brahney

*For more info on this stone formation see--

1 comment:

  1. Dad.. this is so beautiful! I want to be there! mo