New Spaces in Old Places

After five years in northern Michigan, the Old Mission Peninsula and its lighthouse are familiar and well-loved places. We often drive along the shores of the peninsula when the weather is not ideal for getting out in – and sometimes even when it is. It’s idyllic, rolling farm country, and I feel at home there. (In fact, we nearly moved there when we relocated from Rapid City.) We’ve kayaked from a few spots on the east side, multiple times, and we’ve paddled out to Power Island farther south on the west side, but we had never put the boats in at the lighthouse. Until last night.

OMP kayaking-7

Ironically, we had set out with the intent to again paddle around the Old Mission Harbor at Haserot Beach, but with winds out of the east, there was more chop than we felt like fighting. We hadn’t unloaded the boats, so we decided to give the other side of the peninsula a try – if it didn’t look good, at least we’d be in time for a sunset.

Much calmer waters greeted us, and we tossed the kayaks and accoutrements in the water before the mosquitoes had time to feast. Though we had no plans upon arrival, we quickly set our sights on the north end of the islet that was almost directly in front of us. As we approached, the cacophony of bird-screech (decidedly different from birdsong) announced the tiny island as a rookery. Though we had no plans to do so, this underscored that we would not be disembarking for island exploration.

OMP kayaking-6

The sun, which had been a showy and welcome presence, dipped below some hazy clouds taking its drama – but leaving a profound serenity. Not an altogether bad trade, I suppose.

OMP kayaking-3

We paddled farther north as we returned to get a better angle on the lighthouse. I imagine other kayakers and boaters have seen the view before, but this was the first time I’ve seen the Mission Point Lighthouse from so far away. It’s even more quaint and tucked away than it seems from the beach.

OMP kayaking-2

Various bugs – including climbing numbers of mosquitoes – increasingly visited, beseeching that we share our eyes, ears, or blood. Declining, we began the paddle back.

OMP kayaking-4

As we neared shore, I paused (well, actually I circled a few times until I was lined up, and then I paused) to appreciate the simple beauty of a few boulders strewn under the water’s clear and shallow depths. Sometimes it’s the simplest scenes that leave the biggest impressions.
OMP kayaking-5

Otter Creek Sunset – A B&W Photo Challenge

Eliza, who shares a similar love for the outdoors as me, and who lives in a similar place but different country invited me to join a black and white photo challenge. Since It’s all in good fun, and since it’s so windy out, I’ve decided to play along. At least once. There are rules, as with any contest/challenge, but I’m not playing by them 😉 So, new rules: if my post inspires you to try your hand at a black and white photo when you might otherwise opt to see the world strictly in colors, link it up to this post. If there are multiple participants, I’ll post a future blog shouting out my favorites. Or something.

Without further ado, here’s the photo – perhaps the only one, perhaps just the first – that I chose to convert to black and white. I originally shared it on FB and Flickr in all its peachy sunset-y glory, but decided it had nice enough lines to lend itself to B&W too.  I posted larger versions of each below, which can be further embiggened via a click if you like.

What do you think?

Otter Creek - B&W Otter Creek Sunset

Meet Tony’s Baby

For most of our married lives (going on an even dozen years!), Tony and I have lived very frugally. We didn’t take a “real” honeymoon until 2005 (we got married in 2000), and we backed out of purchasing a house in the middle of the real estate bubble, because we felt like we would be getting in over our heads. (Too bad no banks felt like telling us, but hooray for making wise, tough choices!) Even now, though we live comfortably, we are still cost-conscious in our decisions. Continue reading

The Deceit of Late Winter

We spent last week working and visiting in the south. Atlanta is at its best in the spring – if you have other opinions, we’ll have to respectfully disagree. For the most part, the weather was pleasant – we even had a couple of 70+ degree days! – and many of the trees were blooming. Our travels were tiring, but also hugely rewarding.

Even so, we are glad to be home. We enjoyed brunch on the patio at Amical, which was delicious. We contemplated driving up the M-22 to scope out the Bay, but instead opted for a 2-hour stroll along the beaches in Traverse City. Loads of people were out walking their dogs, jogging, biking, and otherwise enjoying the gift of Capricious Late Winter. I alternately thought I did and did not need a jacket, and the sights were a bit incongruous as well: deep blue skies, clear grounds, snow piles. Last week, two feet of snow. Today, 62, sunny and slightly breezy.

West Bay blues

Lichen on the shore

Beach tree

Him and Her ducks on the Boardman River

Season-opening steelhead

Normally this kind of day would have left me slobbering to scour the forest floors for morels. Even though it fees like a perfect spring day, I know better. I have hunted Easter eggs in April many times – 500 miles south of here at that! I don’t expect that winter is over, even if most of the snow is gone, but that did not stop us from enjoying the day today. I think Tony might even have a hint of sunburn on his cheeks 🙂