A Beautiful Day in This Small World

Yesterday Tony and Petey and I left the house, on the way to somewhere. We didn’t know where we were going, just that we’d get there eventually. Twenty minutes later as we entered Traverse City, we settled on an area south of town where we had previously hiked, but only briefly. After a couple wrong turns – we didn’t consult a map, though we had our phones – we arrived at the Boardman River.

The trail was prettier than we had expected, with a lush canopy above and multiple access points to the clear, swift water below. (The mosquitoes weren’t even bad!) Petey was hesitant to wander much deeper than his elbows, until we let him off his leash to play with a dog (Bronna) who kept visiting us from around the bend. Bronna’s mom apologized for her wayward pup, and we returned the favor with an apology for the sand Petey contributed to their beach blanket.

We chatted on the banks to Bronna’s mom and grandma for several minutes as the dogs raced around, in and out of the water. We talked about where we all lived, and learned that they were immediate relatives of a neighbor who lives on our road, just over a mile away. After the dogs settled down a bit, we peeled Petey away to continue exploring the trails.

The path meandered through the woods and along grassy meadows (thanks, pollen, for the itchy eyes, etc), always near enough to hear the flowing water.

Wildflowers abounded, and I half-wished for a field identification book so that I could accurately name what we spotted. I know we saw irises (yellow) right along the river banks, purple vetch, and locust. There were lots of different little yellow flowers, and a similar number of white ones.

There were several butterflies, too, including a pretty iridescent one with hints of blue. I don’t know what it was either. At least I know that the one that sat for me was a monarch, so I’m not entirely hopeless ;)

After three hours on the trails and in the river, we loaded our tired selves into the car. Petey napped in the shade while Tony and I grabbed dinner, and then we stopped at the pet store to get some wipes for his tummy. (We’re pretty sure he’s allergic to the tall grasses that he so loves to use for exploration and potty time.) On our way out of the store, a couple and their daughter eyed Petey, and remarked how similar he was to their female pit bull. As dog folks like to do (see – I’m doing it right now!), we started talking about our furry ones. We mentioned that our puppy was a shelter boy, and then exchanged dog names (she’s Tilly). The guy then, exclaimed: “I know this dog!” He asked if we happened to get him from the Benzonia shelter (we did), and then the real excitement ensued. He filmed the Dog Man movies, and filmed part of Dog Man 2 at the shelter, and was there while Petey was…and Petey is apparently in the film. They had seriously considered adopting Petey, and were thrilled to see him in his happy life.

We all returned home, tired and happy – me with little happy tears, grateful for the day in this small world.

A Beautiful Birthday

Happy Birthday to Me! Another year’s passed, and they really do seem to be going faster. I don’t feel any older than I did this time last year, but the days are adding up, and I can tell I’m getting old. If there are no other signs, I am obviously more mature have more grey hairs, so there’s no denying it. Not that I’m bothered by it; aging is a pretty good alternative to my other option, and I’m not so sure I’ll look bad with grey hair ;)

I think Mother Nature finally took pity on me, and treated me especially well for my especial day. The weather couldn’t have been fairer, and Tony was of a like mind with me today so we spent most of the afternoon doing what we do in the spring. (That’s hunting morels if you’re unsure.)
TC

Because Father Winter lingered long past his welcome this year, Tony and I haven’t been our usual eager selves to check the progress in the woods. We know there’s not been nearly as much as one might expect by this time in May. However, my neighborhood walks with Petey have indicated that it’s time to start hitting our spots checking for morels.

While I love eating the mushrooms, my heart is really in the hunt. A friend and I swear it’s what’s actually behind the Easter egg hunting tradition. If you’ve ever delighted in finding Waldo, then you have an inkling of what morel hunting is like. Nature’s tastiest nuggets camouflaged against a gorgeous backdrop of rustling leaves and vibrant, ephemeral wildflowers. You get to walk amidst it all, enjoying the simplicity of each passing moment so that even if you don’t find any mushrooms, you’ve still won a great prize.

We didn’t find a ton – we brought home twenty that were acceptably large – but we found some: The season is afoot! Even if we hadn’t found any, I’d still have counted today as a gift. This way, there’s no doubt it’s going in the books as a perfect birthday celebration.

We did not pick the tiny mushroom, I just included it for funsies.

A Quiet Moment at Sand Lakes

barbed fencerow

Summer seems to be on a faster time stream than the other seasons. We won’t talk about how much remains, because really it depends on what September chooses to do, but I just feel like the days are flying by. It could also just be that I’m getting older. Either way – faster time stream…aging blogger – we’re trying to squeeze in as many summer activities as possible.

Tonight after dinner, we relaxed under clear skies in the backyard for a while discussing what to do with the remaining daylight. Inspiration struck, and off we bounded for the Sand Lakes Quiet Area – a place we haven’t visited since…well, I don’t know when. Over weekends in the summer, Sand Lakes is a popular camping destination, but tonight the trailhead held only one other vehicle.


We spritzed on some bug spray and headed down the trail – an easy half-mile descent on a smooth, wide path. As an added bonus, the woods on either side of the trail is littered with wild blueberries. Though most of the low bushes had already been stripped of their fruit, I found a few lingering berries to enjoy.

As part of the North Country Trail, the path continues, but we stopped at the first of the lakes. We were in good company on the shore, surrounded by reeds, wildflowers, and dragonflies. And mosquitoes.

We wandered near the water’s edge, enjoying the evening quiet. Even the water sat still in the hush. As we lingered, I swear I felt time slow down for just a moment – a moment I’m holding onto in case I need in future seasons.

beside Sand Lake

I recommend opening for a larger view :)
west end Sand Lakes

Little Beauties in the Skegemog Swamp

According to something I read on the internet, in Michigan you’re never more than six miles from a natural water source. Four out of five Great Lakes prefer Michigan (I totally stole this from a bumper sticker that I’d like to have as a t-shirt) – giving us about the same amount of coastline as the US Atlantic Coast – in addition to more than 11,000 inland lakes.

As a state, we are waterlogged – a fact that is difficult to appreciate fully. Continue reading

More Than Enough

After the austerity of winter, the abundance of spring is exuberant. The trees have sprouted baby leaves in various pastel pinks and greens, and some of the orchards have burst into bloom. Surrounded by the backdrop of the glittering bay and the warm, blue skies, the bounteous beauty is a little hard to believe. Continue reading