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Thursday, December 28, 2023

Another Holiday -- Now Past....

Holiday spirit on Waukazoo Street

A lot of people mentioned having trouble getting in the Christmas mood without snow. With daytime temperatures up to 50 degrees, it felt more like spring than winter. I was happy that the rain held off until nighttime on the 25th, because Sunny Juliet was invited to come with me to dinner at the home of friends, and while I was already dubious about how my wild child would behave, “wet dog” would have been a whole ‘nother ball game. 

Is this a December sunrise? Where is the snow?

On Saturday evening (Christmas Eve Eve), I made cheesecake and was up early Sunday morning making the roux for a shrimp gumbo, both of which I took to the home of the friend I’d taken Thanksgiving dinner a few weeks back. He was having a good day, and we had an excellent visit: He not only recognized me but remembered my name! I guess that’s how it goes in early stages of dementia – the person can be very different from one day to another. Anyway, this visit was easier than the last. There was even sunshine.

Morning sun on winter trees

(By the way, you shouldn’t get the wrong idea about the real me. The truth is that taking dinners to a homebound friend was as much for myself as for the friend. Planning and cooking for someone else – thinking about someone else -- takes the focus off holiday aloneness.)

That evening I had a nice, long phone conversation with my son, and in the morning, after Sunny and I got out for plenty of good exercise, my sisters and a couple of friends texted each other greetings of the day. Merry Christmas!!!

Before opening presents....

Sunny and I had another walk and then stopped for a session at the dog park on our way to our friends' house, because I figured there was no such thing as “too much exercise” before Sunny visited indoors in a new place. How would she be, amid beautiful holiday decorations and while humans were having a meal? Oh, my heartstrings! She was such a good girl, I could hardly believe it! Only when we got back home, three or four hours later, did I realize I had forgotten to give her the calming treats beforehand, and then I was even more impressed with and grateful for her good company manners.

Good dog and her dog mom got matching cozy blankets!

Christmas Day 2023 for me wrapped up with finishing a Steve Hamilton mystery novel and beginning, before falling asleep, a novel by Susan Straight, one of my new favorite fiction authors of the year. And so ended my second Christmas without the Artist. I can’t say I didn’t revisit memories of other Christmases, especially 2021, our last together and a cozy, contented, happy day – David and Peasy and me -- but this most recent one was good, thanks to friends and my little canine companion. 

Now in the last week of the year I find myself looking forward to closing out this year’s Books Read list, along with this year’s business accounts, and starting fresh with new, clean pages. As always with election years (especially recent ones), I’m apprehensive about what the next 12 months will bring, but there’s no way to put a hold on Time, is there? So here is my last quarter’s list of the year, books read in October, November, and December 2023:


129.        Hull, Cindy L. Human Sacrifice (fiction)

130.        Minka, Dzidra Kepitis. The Empty Sleeve (nonfiction)

131.        Atwood, Margaret. Hag-Seed (fiction)

132.        Dimaline, Cherie. Empire of Wild (fiction)

133.        Shipman, Viola. Famous in a Small Town (fiction)

134.        Straight, Susan. I Been in Sorrow’s Kitchen and Licked Out All the Pots (fiction)

135.        Bourdain, Anthony. A Cook’s Tour: Global Adventures in Extreme Cuisines (nonfiction)

136.        Markoe, Merrill. What the Dogs Have Taught Me and Other Amazing Things I’ve Learned (nonfiction)

137.        May, Katherine. Enchantment: Awakening Wonder in an Anxious Age (nonfiction)

138.        Conley, Susan. Paris Was the Place (fiction)

139.        McGilchrist, Iain. The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World(nonfiction)

140.        Beresford-Kroeger, Diana. To Speak For the Trees: My Life’s Journey from Ancient Celtic Wisdom to a Healing Vision of the Forest (nonfiction)

141.        Lee, Leslie. We Are the Land: Ireland, 2nd ed. (nonfiction )

142.        Nevin, David. Meriwether (fiction)

143.        Wickens, Kim. Lexington (nonfiction)

144.        Mosley, Walter. Walkin’ the Dog (fiction)

145.        Airgood, Ellen. The Education of Ivy Blake (fiction)

146.        Enright, Elizabeth. Gone-Away Lake (fiction)

147.        Smith, Alexander McCall. The Good Pilot Peter Woodhouse (fiction)

148.        Campbell, Bonnie Jo. The Waters (fiction – ARC)

149.        Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von. The Sorrows of Young Werther (fiction)

150.        Lee, Leslie. The Hole Made by a Waterfall: Ireland (nonfiction)

151.        Wilkerson, Isabel. Caste: The Origin of Our Discontents (nonfiction)

152.        Hamerton, P.G. The Unknown River (nonfiction)

153.        Maugham, W. Somerset. Cakes & Ale (fiction)

154.        Casebeer, Karen. Calling: A Northwoods Mystery (fiction)

155.        Garvin, Ann. I Like You Just Fine When You Aren’t Around (fiction)

156.        Williams, Justin Michael & Shelly Tygielski. How We Ended Racism: Realizing a New Possibility in One Generation (nonfiction)

157.        Ariyoshi, Sawako. The Twilight Years (fiction)

158.        Godwin, Gail. The Odd Woman (fiction)

159.        Hamilton, Steve. Let It Burn (fiction)

160.        Straight, Susan. Mecca (fiction)

Happy New Year, Friends!

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Almost to the Turning Point

Only two days until we reach the winter solstice, and then the light will begin to lengthen day by day. Almost imperceptibly at first, and we will certainly have many more weeks of cold (winter, after all), but the return of the light is something to celebrate.


Weather Notes


This morning’s “feels like” reading of 21 degrees did not encourage me to rush outdoors! On the other hand, the wind had died down, and I took that as a blessing, after Monday’s gales from the north, which were fierce, destructive, and gave no quarter. Sunny and I had the wind at our back on Monday when we walked out but directly in our faces on the way home, and it was brutal! Well, I should speak for myself. The dog girl didn’t mind it at all and would happily have stayed outside all day, playing in the wind and snow on her second birthday


I thought about venturing into the woods on Monday to get away from the wind, reasoning that standing trees would provide some shelter, but all the fallen trees and branches, criss-crossed on the ground like  jackstraws, gave me pause. After all, I think, they were not always on the ground, and it’s usually wind that brings them down, so standing in the wrong spot at the wrong moment could be fatal.

“What are the odds?” a friend asked skeptically when we talked that evening, adding, “I think you would have been all right.” She had a point. The odds would definitely have been in my favor, and if I were escaping a more awful fate, I would have taken the chance without a second thought. Now that so many friends my age no longer venture into the woods or even out on long walks at all, however, out alone with my dog I look to minimize unnecessary risk. Today, though, ah, yes! Only a mild west wind, and the woods called me in among the trees, where I took a reading of present and future walks. 


When the snow is deeper in the woods (it’s only a sprinkling on fallen leaves at present), it is the fallen, not possibly falling, trees and branches that must be minded, along with so much more. Branches disguised by the blanket of snow, deep, hidden pockets in the ground (pitfalls?) where an old stump has rotted away, and the always treacherous wild grapevines – there is much in the woods waiting to trip up the unwary. And yet, stepping carefully and watching where you step, the woods are peaceful in winter and well worth visiting.


Book Notes

My local readers and mystery aficionados will want to pick up a copy of Karen Casebeer’s new novel, Calling. Her Northwoods Mystery murder story is definitely plot-driven, with plenty of complications, and I enjoyed equally a running sidebar – cleverly related to the plot -- on one of northern Michigan’s most beautiful seasonal birds, the sandhill crane.


Another book I want to highlight this week is How We Ended Racism: Realizing a New Possibility in One Generation, by Justin Michael Williams and Shelly Tygielski. If the title puzzles you, that’s intentional. Rather than pose a familiar problem and get bogged down in familiar hopelessness, the authors propose a vision and then ask, if we imagine ourselves already there, what would it have taken to get there? I am not only thinking racism in America, but also political divisiveness in America, and I’m also thinking Gaza. Having a vision is not mere wishful thinking. It provides a goal – seeing it – which provides a direction, which illuminates steps to be taken. And the first steps are to be taken by each of us. We can do it. The greatest barrier to a solution is hopelessness.


Bookstore Notes


Today is Tuesday, a “by chance or appointment” day for me, but it’s also the last week before Christmas, so here I am in the bookstore. I even have a little wrapping paper and tape for the totally unprepared. Probably won’t be here past 3 p.m., but I’ll be back again tomorrow and Thursday and Friday, 11-3, and then 11-5 on Saturday, as usual.

Monday, December 18, 2023

Someone Is Two Years Old Today

First picture I saw of her

First time I met her

Sunny Juliet is two years old today, Monday, the 18th day of December, and she is not suffering from the “terrible twos” at all -- that is, I am not suffering terrible twos with her. The little crybaby puppy (“Tiny Girl”) and teen barker (“Naughty Girl”) has settled down considerably. She still barks on occasion (often public occasions I would rather did not include barking), but in general the challenging, demanding, willful, opinionated puppy has become a pretty grownup dog girl and a delightful companion.

Naughtiest thing she ever did (when about a year old) 

Summer tennis ball play in the yard

(Does that video work???)

Sunny and I are staying in Michigan all winter this year -- quite possibly from now on; time will tell -- and that’s fine. Although without canine encouragement, it’s unlikely that I would be going out for early morning walks every cold winter day, starting before the sun has crested the wooded horizon and regardless of how hard the wind is blowing, she needs it, so we do it, and it’s good for both of us. Fresh air! Exercise! Cold doesn’t faze the little girl, and she loves snow!

Last year in Arizona snow

First big Michigan snow for Sunny

Sunny is accustomed to my daily routine, always ready for more time outdoors when afternoon brings us back together after my work day. She will never learn to read books, and I will never have her keen nose for invisible trails in the grass, but Sunny is patient with my morning and evening reading, and I make sure we have ample time outdoors. Learning to be patient has been good for Sunny, and time outdoors is always good for me. VoilĂ ! We both gain and enjoy each other more when we give each other time and space to indulge our respective gifts and loves.

Happy birthday, little girl! The momma loves you!

Sunny wants more snow!

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Everything is Different Everywhere

Wednesday morning, 12/13/23

Everything is different not only from year to year but also from day to day. Yesterday’s fierce, bitter west wind made the air feel ten degrees colder than the temperature reading. Today is still cold, but the sun is shining, and there are more smiles on the faces of even the most rushed pedestrians in Northport. I did my village errands before opening and then found contentment in adding ornaments to my little Charlie Brown tree.

Happy in the bookstore window, sunny today


A Recent Encounter and Thoughts It Sparked


“It’s not the same town it used to be,” the salesperson muttered bitterly. I was trying on boots and had asked specifically for footwear made in the U.S. or Canada. Her remark about change in Traverse City came as a response to my request and followed her more immediate response: “You won’t find them. No one here wants to work any more. The only boots we can get from China or Vietnam or ….” I forget the third Asian country she named, but in the moment I thought instantly about the wage scale in China, where factories workers are housed in clusters of high-rise dormitories in the middle of nowhere, and so I remarked, “Well, people here don’t want to work for nothing,” but that was the wrong thing to say, because although my tone wasn’t angry, the words were argumentative. I wish it had occurred to me then (and not an hour later) to ask curiously, “Why do you say that?” Maybe we could have had a conversation. Instead, she countered quickly, “They don’t want to work at all!” I still could have asked the question, if I hadn’t let her words and demeanor put me off so completely, but next she made that remark about Traverse City not being the town it used to be, adding, “And it isn’t the same country it used to be, either.”


Of course, she was perfectly right to say that Traverse City has changed. Nothing like the small town I moved to in 1970, Traverse City now seems to exhibit growth as such a fast pace that the Artist and I were always exclaiming over new buildings whenever we made the trip to town. Big condominium complexes everywhere, multistory hotels, city traffic! Downtown is still attractive and walkable, and the sidewalks are usually filled with foot traffic (a good sign for a downtown), but the newfangled parking arrangement – meters that take credit cards instead of quarters – discourages some (I am one) from making the effort to shop downtown. Maybe it’s out-of-town visitors in the big hotels who shop Front Street boutiques these days.


Luckily, when I inspected the label on the inside of the second pair of boots the gloomy salesperson brought out (the ones I’d initially pointed to in the display), I saw that they were made in Canada. They fit. They were warm and snug and simple. No need to look further. So I got what I came for, and we ended with smiles, but the transaction as a whole left me feeling sad and discontented over a missed connection. I wish I’d had my wits about me in the moment. But going to Traverse City overwhelms me, too, most of the time….


Stores and restaurants and traffic and high rises are hardly unique in the American landscape. When I am back in Kalamazoo, there are parts of that city that I barely recognize, and the same is true of Joliet, Illinois, where one of my sisters still lives. Cities everywhere are sprawling outward. Growth in Tucson and Phoenix made those cities’ outlying areas look different from one week to the next as I traveled from ghost town to city hospitals and back in early 2022. Apartment buildings and condos are rising skyward in all American cities. Shops and restaurants have become more expensive (and more like New York) than they ever used to be.

Nothing is the way it used to be. Anywhere.

Part of this sea change is population growth. The world population, 3,695,390,336 in 1970, had grown to 8,045,311,447 by 2023, more than doubling. The population of the United States went from 203,392,031 to an estimated 339,996,563 in the same time period, not doubling but greatly increasing. How could we ever imagine that the world would not change with so many new people in it, including the babies we welcome so joyfully into our own families? 


Another aspect of changes, however, as I see it, has to do with expectations, which are much higher than those of the postwar twentieth century. Is it also a greater willingness to carry debt? Refusal to delay or do without gratification? Resignation to “just the way things are”? The average new car today costs two and a half times what my first house cost and five times what my parents paid for their first house. Not that my parents ever bought new cars, and I never have, either, and both of those first houses, I should note, had three bedrooms and a single bathroom -- but who expected more? Our family’s vacations in the 1950s consisted of two weeks in Ohio, one week with one set of grandparents, a second week with the other set – and that was a summer vacation. Winter vacations were unknown except for “jet-setters,” back when only the rich and famous flew around the world for pleasure.


Materially speaking, the growing world population on average is richer than ever. Many middle-class Americans are drowning in their own toys! (Are they happier?) However the average is calculated, though, many are left behind, as what was a gap between highest and lowest income levels threatens to become a chasm.


Somehow – and I have no basis other than intuition for saying this – I doubt that the unhappy salesperson in the shoe store and I would agree on which changes we see as the most negative or what might be done to mitigate negative effects. Of course, I don’t know that, and obviously she was having a bad day. I remember a day 28 years ago when I had to close my bookstore early, realizing that my mood was not one that walk-in customers should have to meet, and a couple years after that, during summer tourist season, annoyed by being asked the same questions over and over, I had to slap myself upside the face, metaphorically, and tell myself either to get a new attitude or find a different line of work. Attitude is what I changed.


I’ve moderated both my moods and my expectations since those early years and grown accustomed to the rhythms of the calendar. I’ll never be rich, but I manage to make a modest living doing something I love in a place where I feel comfortable and visible. A first-time visitor recently assured me that no reader need ever leave my bookstore empty-handed, as there is something for every reading taste. “Write in my guest book!” I urged him shamelessly. Everyone loves to be appreciated! I certainly appreciate my customers and am happy that so many have become my friends over the years. What more could I ask? I am a lucky human being.



Additions to Top Recommendations From My 2023 Reading


Added to my top fiction and top nonfiction book picks of the year are now: 


For fiction, it is, of course, The Waters, by Bonnie Jo Campbell, which I read in an advance review copy, though the release date was pushed from October to January 2024. I’ll be writing more about that novel after the first of the year and hope the author can come to Northport! 


For nonfiction, it’s Isabel Wilkerson’s Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents, published back in 2020. I read The Warmth of Other Suns earlier but only very recently Caste. Such a brilliant writer and thinker she is, and while you probably know, as I did, the basic historical events, her analysis puts them in a new, pitiless light. How did 2016 happen? Read Chapter 26. That is, read the first 25 chapters, and then Chapter 26. Every American needs to read this book. If you need more convincing, here's an article for you. 


Time Is Slipping Away!


How does it happen? One day the holidays are visible on a distant time horizon, with weeks available to plan and make ready, and then suddenly  Hanukkah is almost over, and it's less than two weeks until Christmas! Whatever the day on which these thoughts occur to us, however, we are here now. Take a deep breath. Sun or clouds, you are here now.

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Total Immersion Recommended

[Note: Images in this post are photographs from my Leelanau home, not the world of downstate Whiteheart, but I tried to get as close in spirit as possible.]

Weeks passed between the day I received my ARC of Bonnie Jo Campbell’s new novel and the evening I finally gave myself the delayed pleasure of opening it and plunging into that rural mid-Michigan world, familiar to me not only from her previous books but also from my years spent in Barry and Kalamazoo counties. It’s a rather different world from Leelanau. The soil is different, the sun rises and sets over different landscapes, and the people inhabiting that world live different lives from most of Leelanau. Most. Not all. The thing is, Campbell’s world is one not often ventured into by American literature, but it's been there all along, waiting to be seen.


One of Bonnie Jo Campbell’s short story collections focused on men, another on women, all apparently lost souls to whose lives she brought great sympathy. Her novel Q Road gave us three protagonists -- a man, a young woman, and a boy -- along with a host of fascinating minor characters. Then came Once Upon a River, the novel completely owned by Margo Crane. 


The Waters is a different kind of story. Large and ambitious, containing themes and worlds both mythic and postmodern, The Waters gives us from Campbell, for the first time, an entire community, bound together -- and torn apart – and bound together again -- by its own unique history. A community seeking redemption and a way forward in difficult and uncertain times. They often have a hard time showing it, but these people care about each other.


The home of Hermine (not Hermione) Zook, healer and matriarch, is a bog island protected by a drawbridge. When local people come to her for healing medicines, consultations take place off the island, out by the house built and formerly lived in by Hermine’s husband, the legendary Wild Will Zook (long ago banished by his wife), a house he lived in alone until joined by Hermine’s oldest daughter, Primrose, who has also disappeared, moving across the continent to California. Molly, a nurse of modern medical ways, is the practical, nearby (and only biological) daughter. Finally, there is the lazy, lovely, magical Rose Thorn, golden-haired mother of eleven-year-old Dorothy, known as Donkey, a mathematical genius made nervous by infinity, a child being raised on M'sauga Island by Herself (Hermine).  

Donkey milks the cow, avoids eating meat, eavesdrops and spies on adults, and longs for a father. Titus is the father she wants, and the choice is logical (passionate Donkey tries hard to be logical), given the electricity that has always crackled between Rose Thorn and Titus. In this postmodern rural Michigan fairy tale, as in European fairy tales of old, however, missing fathers are a recurring theme. Never mind that the entire community of Whiteheart, Michigan, longs to see Titus and Rose Thorn together.


“Once upon a time” opens Chapter Zero: Prologue, and Chapter Six opens with an echoing “Once upon a time,” the phrase signaling both history and fabulism. Each chapter bears, besides its number, a sentence heading. Chapter One announces a crucial truth: “Rose Thorn always comes home.” Whiteheart can accept the absence of Wild Will Zook, but they need Rose Thorn. They need Rose and Titus together. This is where we begin.


Chapter One introduces us to Whiteheart. With the addition of Smiley, the barkeeper, the men drinking beers and pops at the picnic table outside the Muck Rattler Lounge after church on Sunday – Rick Dickmon, gun-totin’ Jamie Standish, Tony Martin (known as “Two-Inch Tony,” but not for reasons you might at first imagine), Whitey Whitby, pot-bellied Ralph Darling – constitute the core community we come to know as we read. The men reappear singly and as a group throughout the novel, their wives and girlfriends remaining in the background, along with Titus’s father and his Aunt Ada, but together they fill in a picture that foregrounds the reclusive healer and her three daughters. It is, however, Titus Clay to whom all local eyes turn. It is Titus, together with Rose Thorn, they believe, who will hold them together, if only --. But it is Rose Thorn, not Titus, who leaves and returns….


Old celery fields, a cranberry bog, a gravel truck that makes its regular run along Lovers Road (that truck reminds me of the caterpillars in Q Road, easily overlooked but a symbol of what life has become in this place), rumbling past Wild Will Zook’s empty house and the Boneset Table where Hermine leaves her cures to be retrieved by those in need. Farm fields and giant black willows. Somewhere in the background, the Old Woman River and pollution from a paper mill no longer in operation. Donkeys and wild, flowering plants, massasauga rattlesnakes (“muck rattlers,” Whiteheart calls them) and church-going people, unsure of what they believe but longing for beauty.

What will become of them all?


A customary request accompanying ARCs asks that reviewers refrain from making direct quotes, as changes may be made between advance copies and the book as later released to the public, and only that request and my bookseller conscience could have stopped me. But this post is not even, I realize, a book review, as I have written almost nothing about the conflicts and secrets that create a taut, suspenseful story line. So be it. I waited as long as I could before beginning this novel, because I knew before opening to the first page that I would not want it ever to end, and what I want for you, dear readers, is to have the whole of the pleasure, also, as you immerse yourself in The Waters, of coming to know the world of Whiteheart and its people for yourself, as I did. 


Before writing this post, I read no other reviews of The Waters (and still have not), though eventually I’m sure I will. For now, I am simply basking in the luxury of being a small-town bookseller and blogger rather than a paid reviewer who must meet certain conventional expectations. I am also happy, in my modest role of bookseller-blogger, not to be preparing a class in American literature, which would require me to trace out echoes of mythic themes that reverberate through the novel. 


(After you read this marvelous story, you may want to review the story in Genesis of the snake in the garden and explore other stories, as well, such as the Brothers Grimm tale of “Rumpelstiltskin” and the Lives of the Saints -- but please wait until after you have read the book! What you already know and what you find in the novel’s pages will be enough for your first time through. Just be immersed in the experience, please.)


Afterward. After-word. Ah, yes! I finished the last chapter of The Waters before going to sleep and saved the Epilogue to read the next morning. My last word today is that if an epiphany be tearful and inarticulate, that’s what I experienced. Stillness. Gratitude. Perfection.


The Waters

by Bonnie Jo Campbell

W.W. Norton & Company

Janary 2024

Hardcover $30

I will happily take orders in advance for reserved copies!

Monday, December 4, 2023

Winter Days Are Here

Clouds delayed sunrise that day.

The sun doesn’t top what I call the Eastern Woods until about 9 o’clock these days, but daylight is sufficient to get me out with my dog an hour before that, and since morning coffee time usually begins for me at 5 a.m., Sunny Juliet is more than ready to go outdoors by 8 o’clock for a good, hard run. She loves to play with frozen apples or -- even more exciting -- the battered, torn remnants of an old boot that still excites her every time she finds it again. 

Sunny practicing her Zen patience --


Between 5 and 7:30 a.m., though, Sunny stretches out long and patient beside me on the bed or draped over my feet (she is on top of the covers) while I read, write in my journal, write a letter, and look at news and Facebook on my phone. Checking in with friends on Facebook reminds me of my mother’s long telephone conversations with friends and neighbors when I was a child, except that she could only talk to one person at a time, and those were the days of “long distance” telephone charges, so her daily chats were confined to nearby friends, whereas I can keep up with loved ones anywhere in the world. Of course, there’s always that book I was reading the night before, too, waiting for me before dawn….


Northport was deadly quiet on Friday, streets empty. Holiday season or not, this is winter in a summer tourist town. Many, many years ago, a successful Leland entrepreneur told me, “People always want to take their businesses year-round, but the key to a successful seasonal business is to keep it seasonal.” I can hardly complain about anyone spending the winter elsewhere, as I have done so myself many times. Staying in place this year, of course I would be happy to have more regular local customers, but I am grateful for those I do have. And having been in business for over 30 years, quiet winter days do not surprise me. It’s an old story.


Saturday was livelier. Even though the horses arrived so late that they kept driving around the village until 9 p.m., I had enough browsers and book buyers to make my day, plus the chance to catch up in person with a local friend whose summers are no doubt as busy as mine. Fun to visit with friends old and new over books!


When I go home to Sunny Juliet after a bookstore day (this works better on the short days when I close at 3 than it does on 11-5 winter Saturdays), she is ecstatic to have me back again – and to get outdoors for another ramble before dark. I’ve put her agility equipment away for the winter, and we won’t be going back to class until spring, either, but we are outdoors every day, whatever the weather. Our most frequent path takes us uphill between woods and orchard, where before the big snow Sunny would run and leap and pounce like a fox on dry, skittering leaves and tease me with apples she dropped as an invitation and then grabbed up again herself. Now even the apples are frozen and mostly buried in snow – but she is a girl who enjoys a challenge! 

Woods on Saturday morning 

Deeper snow on Monday morning 

Beautiful red apples in snow 

Foraging dog 

Ordinarily, I wouldn’t come to the bookstore on Mondays, but the last part of my new book order hadn’t arrived on Friday, so here I am until the big brown truck comes. What fun Sunny and I had this morning, though! And how beautiful all the trees looked, both around home and on my drive to Northport, every branch outlined and weighed down by snow! My new snow tires did the job, too, even without the driveway plowed yet.

So let it snow! It is, after all, December in northern Michigan. And I am well supplied with books.

Seen from indoors through window and screen on Sunday 

Up close and personal, outdoors on Monday 

Sunny in the snow