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Sunday, August 17, 2008

Third Saturday in August, Leelanau

At the fly-in and pancake breakfast at Woolsey Airport on Saturday morning, I took a lot of pictures. For me, one of the best parts of the fly-in is seeing the planes arrive. From the south, they fly past and beyond the field and turn, making their descent and approach from the north. Then, on the ground at the southern end of the north-south runway, they turn and taxi back, turning again to park, some by the road, others at the west end of the shorter, east-west runway. (If I’ve gotten any of this wrong, I’m sure someone will correct me!) It’s exciting to hear and see them—engines, colors, motion. The air in late August has that delicious, ever-so-slight crisp edge, and the grass is wet with dew.

Besides the planes, there is a car show, pretty informal but full of beautiful, shiny convertibles, hot rods and collector vehicles of all sorts. There are a few dogs on leashes (Sarah one of them), lots of kids, even a horse or two. (The horses are working, as was one of the dogs.) Of course, there are pancakes and sausages and syrup and cherries and coffee, tee-shirts and caps, and there is the BAND!!! I couldn’t stay to hear the band or see the Coast Guard helicopter arrive, and the soccer team was still setting up tables when I finished my breakfast, but the crowd was already huge. It couldn’t have been a better morning.

Then after a day in bookstore and gallery, when afternoon came to an end, David and I went to Peshawbestown for the traditional pow-wow, which we usually attend but which, for a variety of reasons, we had missed for the last three years. I don’t take pictures at pow-wow. There are parts of the ritual during which people are requested not to take photographs, other times when it is permissible. The wooded setting and colorful regalia and frolicking children are beautiful. Taking photographs simply isn’t the way I want to go to pow-wow. All I want is to be there, as fully as possible, not trying to do anything at all. It’s good to meet friends, to appreciate how children have grown, to honor elders and see new little ones, to eat frybread and corn soup or wild rice soup, to admire the dancing, and to feel the drums. To be permeated by the drums. As the sun sets and the colors are retired, it’s good to leave with what I call “that pow-wow feeling.” Years ago, feeling I was too tired in late August to drag myself to yet another event, I made the effort anyway and discovered that pow-wow renews me. The feeling isn’t something I want to analyze or try to explain, even to myself. It’s enough to come home with it.

Coming home, around that big, sweeping curve of Jelinek Road above Lake Michigan, we saw the white tents and lights set up on the hill for the Conservancy picnic and auction. They too were enjoying the most desirable weather possible.

It was a very good day. Was there a full moon later? We were fast asleep!


Anonymous said...

Late on Saturday, after the poetry, we sat around the dying fire at Stone Circle as the full moon rose over the maples. Piles of clouds moved past, and when they were gone, the whole meadow was bathed in silver. Harley, who is a very good dog, came out to say hello, pet me, thank you for coming, it's time to go home now. And so I did.

P. J. Grath said...

Someone at the bakery this morning described to me the full moon off Northport Point last night. Glad so many people made the most of it.

Anonymous said...

This month's full moon is the Sturgeon Moon. But why?

P. J. Grath said...

August is peak time for sturgeon fishing. November full moon is named for beaver, as that's the time to trap them.

P. J. Grath said...

As for that big white tent, my first thought was a wedding, then the Conservancy, and it turns out it was probably a wedding, after all. Well, beautiful for that, too!