Tuesday, June 19, 2012

'round the lake in three days

Lake Michigan just before Sleeping Bear Dunes
Finished with school for the year, had some meetings to attend, but ... given the year, decided that it was better that I just 'disappear' for a few days to decompress ... find my feet again. Not ever having thought of it before, I decided that I must do the circle tour around Lake Michigan! I loaded up the car and took off this morning for the 1,000+ mile drive ... rolling across ground that I've covered many times before ... Gary, Michigan City, and on into the state of Michigan. My grandfather lived in SouthWestern Michigan, so I was familiar with that stretch of highway, and a few year's back, I came up North with my mom to check out the fall colors and so travelled up to Manistee and Glen Harbor ... but today, once I left the 8 lane expressway and the 4 lane divided highway, I came to M22. What a glorious drive through forests and along lakes (Michigan on one side, and then interior ones on the right). I was quite alone in the meander. At one point, out of a pine forest lept a little doe. It looked at me and then dived back into the thicker forest. I was startled. Once when walking through a pine forest in northern Spain, a whole herd of deer flew out of the forest and across my path. It was truly breathtaking. And now I wonder ...

In the past, on a trip to Ireland, I had conjured a tale of a cow selke. I may have mentioned it before. I was high on a hill with a spectacular view of the Atlantic alone with my mom and a herd of cows. My sister had punked out and gone back down the hill as it was a chilly windswept Irish day. One of the cows in particular was very interested in our movements. I turned to my mom and said, 'she didn't leave after all. She's right here with us.' And so for the rest of the trip, whenever we came across a bunch of cows, I would yell out my sister's name, and wouldn't you know that there was always one brown cow, a sweet cow of course, who would turn and look me straight in the eye. Well from that point on, whenever I encounter cows, I call her name and know that she is close by. Of course the legend is that she is a cow selke ... taken from the tradition of Irish selkes ... though rather than being trapped between land and sky, she is as comfortable grazing on a field as she is being a woman in the world.

But now the doe. I've seen this phenomenon twice and I'm beginning to wonder if it isn't all living things that watch over me. Of course the deer remind me of a Potter petronus. Snape was a deer. And when Harry needed him, he appeared. I apparently didn't need a herd yesterday, just a little doe to watch over me.

the calm before the storm
The hour was getting late in the drive, and for some reason, I was taking it as a race. Put me on a track with a finish line and I go for it. But I have some time and so decided to take it a little slower. I had whizzed by a place that looked like it would be a good place to stop, so I turned around and pulled up. It's such a pretty place with a view of the lake. I'm sitting here now with the breeze off of the lake, a chipmunk at my feet and a quiet that I've not had in a spell. Last night, I wandered into the town. It has some historic significance ... Fish Town. And it was as cute as a button. I walked down to the big lake and watched as a big storm came up. Fearing wet, I ducked into a store to find a postcard. The boy at the counter recommended the fish restaurant across the street, even though he had never been there before. Oh well, why not. I sat at a very friendly bar eating delicious lake fish and drinking wonderful beer from a local town.

I would stay here for ever ... but I hear the road. And I have to hit it.

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