Search This Blog

Friday, September 12, 2014


Crabapples in Northport

Between the colorful, spectacular reigns of summer and fall comes a quieter time. The last cutting of hay is being baled, but we’re still far from field corn harvest, and the countryside and villages seem to draw deep breaths and sigh contentedly. Images in today’s post come primarily from home and from country roads between home and Northport. This is one week in my life, September 3-10, much of it told in words only.

The chairs are exhausted from so much fun
A week ago, while Bruce took care of bookselling in Northport. I had an afternoon under the linden tree in our side yard, sitting at the outdoor table with David and friends visiting from afar, drinking beer and feasting on bread and cheese, pistachios and almonds, tiny tomatoes and tinier cucumbers. Two days later, with another group of friends Up North for a few weeks of vacation, after my work day our dinner party group gathered in the shelter of the front porch, leaving the cold and damp outdoors, enjoying an Ethiopian menu with rich, decadent, un-Ethiopian dessert and drinking wine and singing (well, two of the five sang for the rest of us) as darkness fell. 

Michaeleen at the piano in Eastport
Then along came Sunday, a gorgeous day and my first Sunday off since the week before Memorial Day! David and I had a good little visit with friends in Suttons Bay and then drove around Grand Traverse Bay—unbelievably, I hadn’t made that drive for two years—for a private piano recital, poetry reading, and Greek dinner with other friends we don’t see often enough, way over in Eastport. (Oh, for a car ferry between Northport and Eastport!) On our way home, we detoured through Elk Rapids, thinking we might find Northport friends in the marina, but there were too many boats, and we were too tired to walk the docks in search of Bill and Sally.

Monday, September 8, was my first Monday off since the week before Memorial Day (yes, the bookstore is now closed both Sundays and Mondays, and as a result I get a 2-day “weekend” now that summer is over), and I drove to Traverse City early to pick up my custom t-shirts at Jen-Tees. It was another gorgeous, gorgeous day, and I took back roads through Cedar in both directions, almost singing out loud at the beauty of the day, but by midafternoon both David and I were so worn out with looking (he’d gone to Glen Arbor while I was doing the Traverse City round trip) that we had no energy to go out for dinner and made do with hot dogs and homemade potato salad.

Tuesday was gorgeous again, all day. I was in the bookstore from 10 to 5, but when I got home David proposed going out to dinner, and we trekked all the way down to the bottom of Lake Leelanau, to Perrin’s Landing, to have cheeseburgers and beer on the deck of the funky little waterside tiki bar. It reminded us of Florida, but without palm trees, and with no grouper or stone crabs on the menu. The sunset was spectacular, but I’d left my camera in the car. When we arrived back at the farm, the moonrise—the full moon of September, the harvest moon—was even more spectacular.

I love my little plum tree
On our drive south through Leelanau County on Tuesday evening, joy kept bursting out of me: “I love September!” “I love bracken fern!” Listening to a music CD: “I love that song!” Remembering music I’d been playing that day in the bookstore: “I love ‘Phantom of the Opera!’” On the road down the west side of south Lake Leelanau: “I love cows!” “You’re full of love tonight,” David observed. Yes, and it felt so good!

Wednesday was another day off. (Three in one week!) Bruce was at the store, so I got up early and headed out with Sarah on my morning rounds: take the garbage out to the road, find a place to walk with Sarah, go to the bank, stop at the Enterprise office to arrange for an ad for the Lynne Rae Perkins event, and have a long latte-and-croissant session at Pedaling Beans, working on a Facebook event and press release for Perkins. (“Day off” does not always mean no work. Sometimes it just means a chance to get work done.) Sarah and I took our morning walk in just in time, before the rain began. No big noisy storm today, just gentle rain. It was nice.

Viburnum showing first hint of fall
I was home by noon and made myself a lunch of leftovers before plunging into the writing of a book review. Have a second review begun, but the book was in Northport, so I treated myself to reading a little philosophy, a recent book passed along to me from my friend in Eastport, philosopher and poet and musician Michaeleen Kelly. She had already done a lot of underlining in the book and said I could keep it, so I underlined fiercely and wrote all kinds of notes in the margin. I may do a post on this book in the near future (which will probably be of interest to one or two of my readers).

There are many more pictures in my memory of the past week than there are on my camera’s memory card. I didn’t get the camera out for the beer garden afternoon ... for the Ethiopian dinner ... for the drive to Traverse City and back or the drive to the tiki bar and home again. I captured a few images in Eastport but nothing on the way over and back.

So what are the images in my mind?

Asters coming into bloom – the tiny, light lavender ones, the ones that look almost like daisy fleabane. (No big deep purple ones yet.) A hawk on an electric line along the road. Holstein cows lying in the grass; elsewhere, feeder calves grazing contentedly (their tails like ropes). In warm late afternoon light, a hay crew slinging rectangular bales up onto a red wagon. Six sandhill cranes: a pair flying over Swede Road, another pair down by Lake Leelanau, a third pair nearer Cedar. Friends’ dear faces. On the way home around Grand Traverse Bay, the surface of the water changing from turquoise and gold to copper to platinum and back to gold. A female mallard near the deck of the tiki bar, and a while later the setting sun stained the clouds a deep crimson purple. A roadside stand heaped with fresh tomatoes; another with ears of sweet corn. Goldenrod bright as the sun, even in the rain.

Then the sounds: the clattering of the cranes’ call, raucous jeering of crows, voices and laughter of friends, beautiful, swelling piano chords and arpeggios, rain pattering on the metal roof of our front porch.

Warm kiss of the afternoon sun, caress of a September breeze through an open window, contentment from seeing dear friends happy with what life has brought them.

Me, too.

Cloudy and chilly but still beautiful

No comments: