The Island Calls and I'm Still Not Home
So pictures will have to do.
Here it is, May 4, and I’m still not back home on the island. My damn dental work is taking far longer than I’d ever thought it would, or I wouldn’t have started it down here (at my daughter’s near Detroit). I thought it would be finished a month ago and it looks like I still have a couple of weeks to go. It’s not all their fault. I’ve had to change appointments twice and it turns out I’m not healing as fast as they thought I would be by now.
It’s not that I’m unhappy here in the city. Most of my family is close by and I’m enjoying the heck out of being with them, but it’s the city and I’m boonies through and through. I’m also a wimp when it comes to winter so it’s my own fault that I left last November and I haven’t been back since.
But it’s MAY! I feel the migratory pull, much as the birds do, but I’m 350 miles from my driveway so I can’t just wing it whenever I might feel like it. No, I’m here until this job is done.
I’ve been looking longingly at pictures of home. I can’t help it. Maybe it’s a spring thing—that nostalgia for whatever perks me up as the days get longer and the earth springs to life—but it’s where I’m at right now, so I thought I’d share a few of my photos with you. (All of the photos, except one, are my own.)
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I took the picture at the top one warm day as Ed and I sat at Rotary Park eating our take-out lunches, as we often did whenever we went up to Sault Ste. Marie to do our big shopping. A ‘salty’ is an ocean-going vessel, a foreign ship bound for a port in Lake Superior—Marquette, possibly, or Duluth—to either pick up or drop off cargo. For some reason American freighters are called ‘boats’ on the Great Lakes, not ships. There’s no mistaking a salty for a boat, even from a distance. They have stacks; our boats don’t.
See the small boat coming up to the salty? That’s the pilot boat. There is a narrow channel on the river just before the salty gets to the Soo Locks and it’s difficult to navigate, so a pilot will climb up a ladder on the side of the salty to help guide the ship through. (The salty pictured above is empty, judging by how high it is in the water. It’ll sit much lower when it’s downbound, its cargo hold full then.)
Around the middle of May the Trillium and Marsh Marigold will be in full bloom. The Trillium were once a rare sight but they’re in a cycle now where they’re filling certain woods nearby. (The flowers can’t grow in the acid soil around pine trees, which is mainly what we have on the island. You’ll only find them where the sun can shine through younger deciduous trees, so we go off-island to take pictures like these.) The Marsh Marigold need sunlight and wet soil and, lucky for us, they thrive in the boggy ditches along the roads.
I’ve heard from islanders that the Sandhill Cranes are back. They, too, were once a rare sight in Michigan but their numbers are growing. They’re still awesome and entertaining and always welcome in my yard.
The Canada Geese should be close to having their babies now. They’re a delight until they become a crowd of poopers in my yard. Ed used to scare the geese off with firecrackers, but he wasn’t allowed to do it while the babies were small. They had to grow to be unrecognizable from their parents before I’d let him do it. Now that he’s gone, no more firecrackers—I just can’t…
I love living in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. When I cross the Mackinac Bridge I’m home, even though I still have 50 miles to go. Before you get to the Mackinac Bridge at the south end, still in Michigan’s mitten, the land is flatter and mainly farmland. The bridge is five miles long, the third longest suspension bridge in the United States, after the Verrazzano Narrows and the Golden Gate Bridge.
Crossing the straits puts you in a totally different landscape. I-75 slices through ancient, striated rock, and cedars line the road for miles. It feels like Up North. The air is noticeably cooler as you cross the bridge. (It’s not my imagination. Others have noticed it, too.)
It’s not unusual to get a snowstorm in May, but the snow melts fast and it’s just another inconvenient part of up north island living. The picture below is in the dead of winter—February—and I’m glad I wasn’t there to take this one. My nephew lives on the island and checks our place while we’re gone. He took the picture from the road and sent it to us.
The big snowbank in the foreground is what the snowplow leaves behind. It looks to be about four feet high. If nobody clears it, this is what happens. Some years we still have to have it plowed out in order to get into our driveway. This year was so mild it all melted before March was even over.
I’ll leave you with a sunrise and a sunset taken from our yard. I got up early one morning in time to see the Blue Heron standing stock-still, waiting for breakfast to swim by. He posed long enough for me to grab my camera and a robe.
Second picture: We only see sunsets like this in summer. This is facing northwest. In winter the sun lowers and heads south and the sunsets are beyond the trees and nonexistent for us.
Thank you, as always, for being here with me. I hope you enjoyed my pictures. I feel better now. ❤️️
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