Transitions

Between storms yesterday afternoon, we took Petey on a couple of small adventures to nearby natural sites. We stopped first at the Seven Bridges Natural Area. It’s been over a month since I visited, and I am always surprised at the differences. Mounds of goldenrod, asters, and ragweed – of course – surround the entrance. My last visit (which I somehow missed blogging about), the area was heaped in marsh marigolds. And whereas the pasture out back was verdant and dew-coated, yesterday it was crackly and brown. Different, but still lovely.

After meandering in the meadows and splashing in the river, we hopped down the road a few miles to Rugg Pond. It’s one of my favorite places around here in the fall. Friendly trumpeter swans always float gracefully nearby (there, but not pictured), and the hardwoods surrounding the water blush all shades of beautiful. If you look closely in the photos below, you can see the tips of the oaks doing just that.

We hiked along the pond’s edge and back into the woods under skies that couldn’t decide whether they’d rather be bright and cheery or dark and stormy. Petey sniffed everything at least twice, and especially enjoyed places where other mammals had obviously been at work.


I especially enjoyed the nascent fall fungi. Or maybe they’re still late summer fungi. Can you spot the edible (fruity, chewy) chanterelles? Can you identify my favored composition for mushroom photos? ;)


Do the maroon oak leaves and red/orange/yellow fungus signal fall’s arrival, or just the end of summer? Regardless, there’s no denying fall is on its way. We will not discuss what comes after that.
Fall Transitions

A Sometimes Early Riser

It’s not often that I’m the early bird. Night owl, absolutely. But when you stay up late like we do, you don’t tend to race the sun in the morning. When I do happen to be awake early in the morning, it’s almost always because we’ve got early plans…or I woke up early and found the sights out our upstairs windows too inspirational not to grab the camera.

Last night, I knew we had a chance of northern lights, so I was watching my online feeds to see if I should venture out with my camera. Around midnight, we started the bedtime routine with our furry house companions, and decided we’d let our text messaging service alert us if the solar storm ramped up. After all, we had plans for some routine maintenance on the car in Traverse City around 10:00, so our usual 9:00am wake time wasn’t going to cut it.

Sometime shortly after 4:00 Tony’s phone rang. He didn’t recognize the number, but it woke us up enough to check on the aurora alerts. As luck would have it, the storm was expected to surge in about 50 minutes. I grabbed all my gear – including layers because it was 45-degrees! – and headed for Torch Lake.

I huddled on a bench on the south end of Torch for over an hour, capturing over 100 images of the dancing northern lights. Normally I’d be disappointed in any cloud cover, but I actually quite like the little bit of color the Alden light pollution adds (Alden is the little town on the right side of the image whose marina lights are painting the photo orange). As the storm wound down, I packed my gear, and headed back to bed.

One of the first photos I shot
aurora 8-28 beginning

A photo about halfway through the set
aurora 8-28 middle

The last photo before I called it quits
aurora 8-28 end

And while I very much enjoy these aurora photos, I can’t help but wish I had played my usual night owl; despite the storm intensity being greater around 5:00am, there was more of a light display in the hours I slept through. I’m still happy with these. These are enough :)

15-second time-lapse. Please ignore the way oversaturated image that youtube created for this. Link to the same video on Flickr follows for those who can’t view youtube. Enjoy!

Satisfactory

It rained yesterday. Not very long, but heavily. Piles of sand and detritus litter the erosion-prone parts of the hillside out back. More of the roadside washed away, but I don’t think the county intends to beef up the pavement on that stretch of road.

A Walk in the Park-pano

Before the storms rolled through the air hung thick with humidity and the continuous groan of distant thunder. After, they felt much the same, only hotter with the addition of afternoon sun. How did we ever live in Miami? I wondered. Where every day in the summer was at least ten degrees warmer, but with the same humidity and sunshowers. But then, how do I live here now, with our relatively cool summers and everlasting winters?

By the time evening arrived, some of the air’s moisture had soaked into the ground, and the temperature dropped back into my (current) comfort level. Even as we strolled sedately around the park under vivid skies, I lamented not having my camera perched over the lake.

Are we humans ever satisfied? Sometimes I think not, but I’m working on it, this recognizing when I have enough :)

A Quick Kayak

Something about the weather this summer has just not been inspiring for kayak trips. We’ve talked a few times about going out, but changed our minds for various reasons. The other morning after I dropped Petey off for puppy day camp (What? Who’s spoiled?), I stopped by the beach in Elk Rapids. It was early enough in the morning that the water was still, and the beach was entirely empty. I really wished I didn’t have to return home for work, but I did. At least I had my few peaceful moments on the sand before my work day began.

 


The morning remained calm long after I arrived home. And as we finished lunch, the sun was shining, and things still looked entirely pleasant out. I checked the forecast, and the weather report indicated wind speeds at a max of 5MPH – not too shabby. So before we picked Petey up, we decided to squeeze in an hour on the lake.

kayaking Elk Rapids-7

I’m not sure about the whole 5MPH thing. The air didn’t seem particularly breezy, but the lake surface was quite choppy (I walked away with a very wet lap), and the current on the south side of the beach pulled strongly at the tails of our boats.


But for no longer than we were out, the paddle was exceptionally rejuvenating. I don’t know why time spent quietly on or near the water is so restorative, but it is. I feel so at peace and so connected to the water when we kayak. We should really get out more often.

Take Three

Three quick stories, because I wanted to share these fun moments (or, really pictures for the TC one…)

When my family was in town recently, we did a lot of sunset + ice cream -ing. It’s something we excel at, and when you’re good at something… Anyway, one evening we were all hanging out at the ballpark on Torch Lake near Alden, licking ice cream and watching the sun paint the sky. Another couple had joined us, but it was no intrusion. Everyone was polite, simply enjoying the moment. As we gathered up our things to leave, the lady approached and asked if I was Heather. Trish recognized me (and Petey and some family members probably) from this blog. How cool is that? Thanks for stopping to say “Hi,” Trish! It was lovely to meet you and share a moment.

A couple of days ago, Tony and I planned a date night. We don’t bother to do this often, because when you’re married to your best friend, like to eat out, and you don’t have kids every night is kind of like date night. But we did plan an evening out to a favorite restaurant followed by a movie.


With skies like these, I tried to talk Tony into just watching the sunset and skipping the movie, but he didn’t take me very seriously. ;)
Stormy TC pano
Stormy TC pano-2

As we wandered around Traverse City and the marina afterward, we determined that apparently date night = eating at The Franklin and watching an action/sci fi movie at The Bijou. For our last three real date nights, this is exactly what we’ve done. Perhaps next time we’ll choose a different restaurant. I have no expectations that we’ll choose a different film genre.

Yesterday afternoon, I hopped on Facebook on our way to dinner with friends. Blogging pal Kathy had posted just moments ago about how though illogical, she was deeply interested in traveling the 550 miles from the Upper Peninsula (da UP, dontcha know?) to the thumb area downstate to visit her folks. She incited a storm of commentary – including my own additions – urging her to follow her heart. Less than half and hour later, Kathy and I had made breakfast plans in Gaylord – a northern Michigan town less than an hour from here – as she pauses in her journey south.

May you all find yourselves here soon :)
beyond bliss