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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.
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And all I got was this mug

Growing up, my parents had some friends who would go to Michigan to visit family (Big deal, I thought at the time – having been to Lake Erie. Ironically, the family they visited lives about thirty miles from me now!). Being good friends, they brought my parents back souvenirs on at least one occasion, one of which was a coffee cup that read “My friends went to Michigan and all I got was this mug.” Or something like that.

Last night we drove up to the tippy top of Old Mission Peninsula, armed with beach blanket, bug spray, camera, spare batteries, and an open view of the sky. We camped out under the stars for three hours watching the occasional meteor blaze by. Other sky gazers oooohed and aaaaahed when a particularly long-tailed one trailed through the Milky Way – like a really good firework, but more magical for being more elusive.

The night sky is like that. Countless stars fill the inky space, surrounded by even more planets. You can only see just a tiny fraction of it. It is So.Big. And we are a part of it. Little old us. How miraculous.

So anyway, we’re out there having our spiritual moments, taking dozens of pictures (using a remote), each of which takes 25 seconds to collect. We oooh and aaah and were truly amazed by the meteors, but all I got was this:
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One photo out of nearly 100 with a meteor.

Also, I took these when I gave up on the shooting stars:
Click for a bigger version (on Flickr, since I get practically unlimited storage there)
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Old Mission Lighthouse under the Milky Way

The Perseids will be peaking for at least another night, so I’ll try again. And it’s not like I walked away empty-handed. Some things you only get to see when you’re not behind the lens – like all the meteors we simply watched.

If you can, get out there tonight and look up! Perhaps we can watch the stars together 🙂

O Snowy Night

Aside from some lake effect snow at the end of November, it’s been pretty dreary up here. I have this idea that December 1 is a magical date, capable of imparting pillowy snow. Not so. I have pouted and generally been unenjoyable (I kid, I kid. I think/hope.) to be around, complaining about how there’s just nothing outside to do. But as you can imagine, my impertinence had no impact on the weather. Fortunately for Tony, a storm system arrived yesterday bringing snow.

Snowy road Continue reading

You’ve Won…A New Car!

In full disclosure, we didn’t win, and it wasn’t a car. However, we are the proud owners of a new Audi Q5 as of about 4:30 this afternoon. Aside from relocating the vehicle, this was by far the easiest car purchase we’ve ever made. Continue reading