It’s Day 57 and I have a dozen days remaining in my summer break. I slept late this morning. Sleeping late is a luxury of summer or anytime when the following day comes without a schedule or place to be early in the morning. Sleeping late is a direct consequence of living without a schedule or maybe staying up late to watch the stars shine brightly in the summer sky, or return home from a family.
“Summer was our best season – everything good to eat, a thousand colors in a parched landscape.” ― Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird
Last night all three of us went to a concert by the band Chicago. B and I listened to them in our youth and the songs were part of the soundtracks of us growing up. O got a glimpse of the music her parents listened to as they figured out how to be adults. It was a fun concert, and the band finished their performance with one of their best-known songs, “25 or 6 to 4”, for their encore.
It was a late night and we got home well past midnight.
We are up at the lake for the race, the famous canoe race. Canoe race weekend is an important time for us as a family and I have written about this weekend in past years. The canoe race is always the last full weekend of July.
The canoe race is begins in town and ends 120 miles down the Au Sable River in Oscoda, Michigan where the river empties into Lake Huron. For many, the race defines this town, but Grayling is much more.
The rivers have been important where trapping along the three rivers – Au Sable, Manistee, and Muskegon – which begin here in the Michigan Highlands was the first industry when Europeans arrived in the seventeenth and eighteenth century. Grayling, the town, was established as a logging town when it was settled in the late nineteenth century. Logging, forestry, and wood products are still key industries in town, but tourism – hunting, fishing, and recreation – is the industry that sustains this little town near the headwaters of the Au Sable River.
When the pandemic began last year, the cottage along the lake was my hideaway. I spent the last two months of the 2019-20 school year teaching remotely from our place on the lake up here. I felt safer away from our densely populated home region. In many ways we were safer here – there are significantly less people in the county and the reported COVID cases were significantly lower here than our suburban county.
And because there are less people wildlife thrives and is more abundant in the absence of people.
During this time by the lake shore, the beginning of the pandemic, change, real lasting deep change, began for me and my family.
We spent more time paying attention to nature and spent more time walking. I walked more last year with my wife and kids than I remember. I also stopped listening to music, podcasts, or audio books when I walked and I started listening to the birds, the trees, and nature around me.
And, I have paid more attention to nature.
For Father’s Day, my wife gave me a couple for bird feeders and shepherd’s double crook to hang the feeders for our lake house. I placed it just off the deck where we can see it when we are sitting in the front room or on the deck. Continue reading Friday morning birding on Saturday→
It’s Sunday morning and the sun is shining, for now, and it’s the last Sunday in June.
We’ve had rain the last couple of days and the lawn, and the garden are rebounding.
Yesterday morning I watched the fog lifting and walked outside to take a photo from the end of the dock – yesterday’s days of summer Instagram post and I discovered a couple of spider webs which had been spun overnight. It reminded me of the story of Charlotte in E.B. White’s classic story, Charlotte’s Web.
Saturday morning spider web, spun overnight
Sunday morning spider – spinning int he wind
Earlier this morning Fern and I stepped outside between showers, and I discovered an exceptionally large spider.
I’ve been watching the birds – especially the blue jays – as they visit the feeders. I’ll see a flash or shadow and look up to see a blue jay the deck either railing, the ledge, or the arm of one of the deck chairs before it hops to the seed feeder. Continue reading Late June Sunday morning→
I am two weeks into Summer 2021 – 14 full days and I mean FULL.
“Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability.” —Sam Keen
The past two days of summer have found me prone on the couch reading a book. Storms blasted through the Midwest late Sunday night into early Monday morning. We went from warm to cool, hence the change in activity reading on the couch and a couple of moments of looking at the underside of my eyelids. I have felt and lived Sam Keen’s quote. Monday morning the lake was breezy and cold.
It’s Wednesday and Day 15. It’s sunny but breezy making the mid-60s (upper teens C) air feel much cooler than it really is.
I’ve been watching my bird feeder off and on this morning – it was my Father’s Day gift – witnessing my first seed visitor, a blue jay and watching a hummingbird dip down for sip of nectar. That’s my photo for Day 15 – you can see it in the Instagram feed to the right, or wait until next week’s Summer Days post.
The past seven days have been amazing, and Day 15 through Day 68 could be a million six times better, but today is gonna be a great day. So, I’d better jump in, jump out, and seize the day. Making the days count, one day at a time, figuring ways to make each day count.
W^2 or W squared for Wordless Wednesday, May 5, 2021
Dryocopus pileatus aka pileated woodpecker #2 on the upright on a tree. Grayling, MI Saturday April 24, 2021 10:20 AM
Pileated woodpecker #1 on the ground foraging on a log. Grayling, MI Saturday April 24, 2021 10:20 AM
the field guide..
I have been looking for one these woodpeckers for over two years. Last fall I saw one, but by the time I had trained my camera it was gone. Two weeks ago, at the lake I spied one along the lane picking through a log on the ground and then saw another on a tree. I didn’t have my camera, but I was able to capture both with my phone camera. The following Sunday I recorded the video below as a pair of them worked the forest in search of food. it is the ABA Bird of the Year for 2021!
It made my weekend and I keep Making the Days Count, one day at a time.
W^2 or W squared for Wordless Wednesday, December 30, 2020
Fern and Ivy enjoy getting out and running in the snow and I enjoy watching them. We’ve got a few inches of fresh snow and until the dogs ran through it, it was a clean white blanket. I’ll be stepping out to clear the drive and walks and playing a little, too. Making the Days Count, at play and work, one day at a time.
It’s Christmas morning and Fern and I are the only ones awake, really I am the only one awake. Fern is curled up in her favorite chair overlooking the lawn and the lake. It was grandmas favorite spot, though the chair has changed. Grandma passed away a little more
than five years ago but her memory lives on.
We drove north to the lake Wednesday morning. O drove one car with Fern and B and I took another with Ivy. We’ve spent the last couple of days readying the cottage for Christmas and it looks and feels like Christmas. Snow is gently falling and all is silent on the lake and in the cottage.
This morning I came across a memory and tweeted it….
Actually, it’s only one bear and one puzzle. I’ve been toying with a puzzle for a while and I finally mastered it. It’s two bent nails seemingly locked together. But the two nails do come apart.
The twisted nail puzzle is one puzzle in a boxed set of puzzles I received as a Christmas gift from my daughter a few years ago. I decided to leave them here, at the lake, with her permission. This past week I re-discovered the twisted nails and I have been playing with them as a diversion – off and on. Twisting the two nails back and forth was a wonderful way to pass time and focus on something besides the future – COVID19 and the approaching school year.
It’s Good Friday. As i reflect on the past few weeks I am grateful there is a much more good than bad. of course, we are still in lockdown which really means we should stay home and not gather in large groups but, we are healthy and safe.
Orchestrate: To arrange or control the elements of, as to achieve a desired overall effect.
Our schools are shuttered until April 30th, at least until April 30th. Several states have closed schools for the academic year, but Illinois has not. Yesterday, I spoke with my colleagues and my principal via Zoom and while it’s great to see them and talk with them, it doesn’t replace the spontaneous interactions of popping next door into their classroom or the conversation at the end of the day about something amazing a student did or said, or simply asking what my colleagues were looking forward to over their long three day weekend. I miss the girl in my last class of the day who always asked me what I was doing over the weekend. That’s what I miss the most.
After the first couple of weeks of quarantine and e-Learning, spring break started. It was an eerie beginning for a spring break. Our plans to travel to the Florida Keys and warm weather were cancelled by the virus, so we decided to travel to our lake home in Michigan to visit for a couple of days. We were only planning to visit for a couple of days so we took what we needed to survive for a few days – clothes and enough food for the five of us (me, my wife, daughter, and our two puppies) to subsist without contacting the local population.
Tueday’s sunshine melted the ice and pushed it all along the shoreline
whitecaps on the lake – Thursday
Friday morning’s day begins as the sun rises and the moon sets
Thursday morning’s mug of encouragement
We arrived late Sunday afternoon, unloaded, and took in the lake and the lake house. We unpacked and allowed the puppies – really a dog and a puppy – 10 years old and 1-year old run and stretch, while we did the same. I took a nap and broke my stretch of eight days in a row of exercise.