In most parts of the country, the weather changes from day to day, and seasons are not clearly delineated except on calendars. One morning in late July, I walked out of the house into what felt like September. After a stormy night, waves pounding the shore of Lake Michigan a mile away were clearly audible from my front yard, and fall was in the air. Then summer returned, with beach temperatures continued for happy, vacationing swimmers.
Cherry harvest, like summer, like fall, does not happen all at once but begins in the southernmost part of Leelanau County and gradually inches north. Thus it is that some farmers have crews in the orchard, “shaking” (cherries harvest with mechanical shakers these days rather than being picked from the trees by hand), while others have a good three weeks yet before they're ready to start.
When you live in the country, farmer or no, you develop a weather eye.
Is it time to make hay? Is the forecast favorable? What does the sky look like? From what direction comes that breeze? How does the air feel, and what are the leaves on the trees saying?
Our hearts and minds have weather of their own, sometimes mysterious affected by larger invisible forces. When the whole family wakes up cranky, maybe the barometric pressure is falling, while another day, be it sunny or filled with gentle rain, will bring joy and contentment.
Those of you who live here Up North will recognize Karen Anderson’s name — and her voice — from hearing her on Interlochen Public Radio. If you’ve been around long enough, her regular column in the Record-Eagle is part of your local memory. Whether you have known her before or not, Karen’s new book, a gathering of radio essays she composed and performed on air over the years, will bring calm, peaceful weather to your storm-tossed soul. She has a gift, employed with a sure, light touch, for noticing life’s small, wondrous moments and objects and them bringing to our attention.
Karen Anderson’s special gift to us this season is a lovely collection, Gradual Clearing: Weather Reports From the Heart. With each essay complete on a single page, Gradual Clearing is an undemanding book; the visions and thoughts it presents, however, make it richly rewarding. I cannot forecast how you will receive the gift — reading it immediately, cover to cover, unable to stop, or stretching the pleasure out for weeks into the future, dipping here and there — but however you do, your pleasure is guaranteed.
And if that were not enough, Dog Ears Books is delighted to have Karen Anderson as our Thursday Evening Author this week, right here at 106 Waukazoo Street on Thursday, August 9, beginning at 7 p.m. This will be the eighth of eleven TEA events in this our 25th anniversary year and not too late for those of you who haven’t managed one yet to come celebrate with us!