There’s No Place Like Home

We spent most of the first week of March in the Atlanta area officially getting in some face time “in the office.”  Unofficially – and the best reason, as far as I’m concerned (and since I’m the author here, my opinion is the only one that matters…) – we were catching up with friends.  We had a great time; Abigail and Jackson were being impossibly cute and sweet and generally awesome, which they usually are.  I still don’t want one, but I certainly wouldn’t complain about having more chances to shake up and return my friends’ (and brother’s and sister’s) children!  I also wouldn’t complain about having more time with my friends south of the Mason-Dixon, but it doesn’t seem likely, considering that we live above the 45th parallel.  Nonetheless, we had lots of good conversation – and food!  I’m not stepping on the scale to check, but I’m sure I gained some weight over the week.  Ably Asian, Chick-fil-A (twice), Marietta Diner, Canoe, Krispy Kreme.  It wasn’t all top-notch, Top Chef-type food, but it was all delicious!

Atlanta and Ellijay were enjoying sublime spring weather (minus the Saturday morning rain, which I can forgive since it didn’t delay my flight), so it was quite jarring to step off the plane in Flint to fresh snow and considerable winds.  We were supposed to get up to 2″ of snow Friday-Saturday, but it looked a lot more like 6-8″.  The roads were clear, and our spring is still a few weeks away, so I was pleased with the additional accumulation; the trees were heavily frosted and mesmerizing the last hour of our drive.  I thought I might be pining for the warmer temperatures and fresh-sprouting greens of spring, but I’m not.

We woke (after a glorious, much-needed night of sleep) to unblemished blue skies, and of course the fresh snow.  After lunch, we embarked upon our day’s adventures on the Leelanau Peninsula.  Our first stop was at Hendryx beach – a location new to us – and ventured out onto the ice shelf.  Close to the shore, the scene was almost silent.  The air was still, only a single swan for company (there were a couple ladies there when we arrived, but I think we scared them off), and no road traffic.  After realizing we were over very shallow water, we did what Mom would have once chastised me for, and got close to the edge.  Then we heard what sounded for all the world like hundreds of peeping baby birds.  It took us a few minutes, but after some ice shelf exploration, we discovered the noise was coming from the friction of the broken ice sheets floating on the water next to us.  Somehow, the tableau was even more serene when punctuated by the music of the clamorous ice than with soundless stillness. [Click any pictures for a larger version.]

After my fingers were thoroughly frozen (winter temperatures + no gloves + lots of pictures = cold fingers), we left the beach (ha!) to see what else we could find.  The findings turned out to be some interesting striations in the ice on some small bay.  Also, some other pretties:

Leaving the roadside distraction behind, we rounded the tip of the peninsula only to arrive at South Beach.  (Channeling Dave Barry: )I am not making this up.  I have a picture, but decided it was not picturesque enough to deserve an online presence.  South Beach was resplendent with sun, surf and sand, or at least sandy ice.  Unlike the other side of the peninsula, which was in what I’ll call the wind shadow, this side was squarely facing it.  (Head on: apply directly to the forehead.) The mixed sand-and-ice shelf was fissured in places from the recent freeze-and-thaw cycles, but the ducks were impervious.  Or maybe just bird-brained (teehee).  Regardless, it was cold, slippery, and absolutely stunning:

Continuing south, we stopped just north of the Dunes in Glen Haven at a restored historic village.  I took a picture of the cannery building, because the colors were a study in juxtaposition, but I don’t love it.  I put it up anyway, so don’t judge it too harshly.  We found something we did love though: remains of an old, large pier.  We’ll be back, and I’ll post pictures from underwater when we do.)  In the meantime, these will have to suffice:

We were so close to the Dunes, that their immense gravitational field pulled us in.  I was compelled to do the climb (Tony was not inclined likewise), and I’ll admit that it’s more fun in the summer when you sink down with each bouncy stride down the steep grade.  The sand was quite crunchy, and I was glad not to have fallen.

If the home is where the heart is, surely northern Michigan is home.  It’s good to be back.

See? They really *do* look awesome in the snow.

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