September 2018 Newsletter

Every so often when it comes time to write my newsletter, I have nothing to say. Let me rephrase that: I have a lot to say, but it is all a jumble and not at all clear how to create a cohesive piece that has meaning. There is so much going on, so many thoughts, that I just don’t know where to go with it all.

I’ve been in this phase for a few months now. In fact, I never did get anything out last month. But since school has once again gone into session, I feel compelled to keep up with those great kids and write something even if it is an essay on “What I Did This Summer”!!!!!

So, “What I Did This Summer”…….

I worked. I gardened. I swam. I entertained. I cooked fresh, healthy, locally sourced meals. I napped….almost every day. I read. I listened to books on Audible. I laughed a lot. I sat and did nothing. I watched the sun go down and the stars come out. I spent endless hours talking with my husband and sharing our thoughts and plans. I searched for the Northern Lights and have yet to see them even though I know they have been around. I met lots of new people. I reconnected with old friends. I spent a lot of time just being. I enjoyed the visits with family and friends. I spent a lot of time out in nature just absorbing its beauty, its power, its unsolvable mysteries.

All in all, nothing huge to report other than I feel so refreshed and so filled. There is something about the Great Lakes that fills me in a way that no other place can. It’s a place that I recognize and know in a deep recess of my soul. There are so many places that take my breath away, but the Great Lakes is where I am most in sync with myself. This is something I never would have recognized in myself years ago. I grew up near Lake Erie, spent all of my adult years near Lake Michigan, and most of those years I yearned to live somewhere else, not realizing I was already in my “happy spot”. And once we left the Great Lakes for “Warmer Climes”, which by the way I have really loved too, there was a part of me that still yearned for the smell of the earth here, the feel of the breezes off the big lakes on my cheeks, the sight of the deer drinking from the lakes, or the eerie sound of loons calling to each other. And the hardwoods and the wildflowers here…..all heaven to me.


I could write about this all day. I would love to share with you all my thoughts about the Great Lakes and how different they are from one another. Or the wonder of crossing the Mighty Mac from the lower peninsula of Michigan to the Upper Peninsula and seeing that huge huge huge expanse of water from Lake Michigan, through the Straits of Mackinaw and down into Lake Huron. And no skyscrapers. Just nature and a few signs of dwellings and boats. And then after driving another 4 hours or so to see the huge expanse and wildness of Lake Superior which holds 10% of the world’s fresh water. Breathtaking.

We met a kayaker this summer who was kayaking all alone from Duluth, MN. (a good 6 hour car drive from here to the West), to Grand Marais, about another 3 hour drive to the east of here. Can you imagine? Kayaking all that distance alone, camping alone at night, only to do it all again the next day? We met him when he stayed across the street at the Inn, a night of luxury, of running hot water, hot meals, much needed conversation, and a day off from the rigorous paddling along the shores. This is a guy who wanted to know this area intimately, and did it. I loved his spirit and his ability to put his love of this area into achievable action.

The summer is a good time to do this as Lake Superior’s waters can be quite calm in the summer. But come fall, November especially, the storms are wild and fierce. Most people have heard the poignant melody as Gordon Lightfoot sings the ballad of the Edmund Fitzgerald that went down with all aboard off the shores of the UP on a stormy night in November. On a beautiful, calm summer day you just can’t believe it can be so nasty, but the waves on this big expanse of water can reach 30 feet in a storm.

So what did I do this summer? I just took as much of this in as I could. It was like trying to take as deep a breath as I could so that I can keep it with me as long as possible. I love this part of the world and I so hope that you too are in a spot that speaks to your soul as deeply as this place does for me. Our house is very funky, quite small, and rather inconvenient in some ways but none of that matters to me. I am so filled here, so happy here in a very quiet, profound and deep way.

From this place, then, I send you Peace. And Wholeness; Contentment, and the Joy of napping whenever you feel like it, or the thrill of a hike or bike ride along the trails whenever you would rather be out in nature. I want each of you to have what I found this summer: a place of my own where I truly belong.

God’s blessings to you…….

“The Mighty Mac”


There is a magical place near where we live in N. Michigan that is beyond words.  It is a place where two and a half Great Lakes converge.  I say ½ because the link to Lake Superior is actually several miles north but not that far and is through the series of locks we know as “The Soo”, at Sault St. Marie. The other two lakes are Lake Michigan and Lake Huron.


But I always think of it as the place where the three Great Lakes converge and you can’t imagine the expanse of great waters unless you have seen it yourself.  Mind you, these inland seas of fresh water are huge.  You cannot see across them and it looks as if when you stand at their edge that they go off into infinity, just like an ocean looks like.


From 1953-1957, 11,350 workers and engineers created the phenomenon called the Mackinac Bridge or “The Mighty Mac” as it is affectionately referred to in these parts.  The bridge is the third largest suspension bridge in the world behind the largest in Japan and the second largest in Denmark.  It resembles its more famous sister the Golden Gate Bridge but being on top of the Mighty Mac crossing the straits of Mackinac (pronounced “Mackinaw”), the expanse of water is much greater and there are no cities or overbuilt hillsides to hinder one’s enjoyment of that huge expanse of fresh water.  There is also no air or light pollution.  Its just you, the water, the sand, the trees, the view, and the bridge.


When I get to this area between the upper and lower peninsulas of Michigan, it feels as if I have entered a space that is very spiritual and special.  I feel a hush coming over me, and a deep feeling of reverence for the land and the waters and the birds and animals….and yes, for the humans who created such an amazing structure linking two spits of land making life ever so much easier for those in the upper peninsula and for the transport of goods back and forth.

 Mac Bridge

These photos cannot capture the grandeur of such a spot but it is here that I get a small sense of the enormity of nature and its awe-inspiring influence on our lives.  A tiny flower can also do that for me, taking my breath away.  But somehow, on this high precipice, I seem to feel a part of nature and the entire cosmos in a way that being macro focused does not allow.


The purpose of this blog is to inspire you to read more about the great inland seas we call The Great Lakes, or at least to look at images of them.  A friend of mine who is used to fishing in small, interior lakes was blown away when he finally saw the first Great Lake of his life this summer.  He was incredulous at the sight. Until you see them in person you cannot grasp their enormity or sense their personalities (and they each have a specific feeling!), or appreciate their beauty.  We are indeed blessed to have such a store of fresh water here in our country to enjoy from drinking and cooking to water sports and simply to drink in their beauty.


Enjoy the Great Lakes.  They are certainly a treat for all of us to experience at least once in our lives!


(For a wonderful trip through the Great Lakes and a great read, see The Living Great Lakes: Searching for the Heart of the Inland Seas by Jerry Dennis)