The sky is blue and nubby with clouds. The soggy, crocus-flecked grass is springy like a new mattress. The budded limbs of the maple and larch toss in a lively wind. Life and debt hang in the balance of these phone exchanges, but nevertheless, I hang up mid-sentence, pull on my rubber boots, and go outside to gather wood.Read More
I haven’t written in a while because I haven’t written in a while. Not my own stuff, anyway. In fact, this blog has been more or less dormant for the better part of two years. Which is strange, considering they’ve been some of the most eventful years of my life.Read More
The lake purrs like a lazy tomcat, placid, reflecting a trail of melted electricity from the dawdling sun. From the elevation of 88 West, we can see the evening wind drive crosscurrents over its glassy surface, tight formations of ripples that travel like a galloping herd of bison.Read More
And just like that, we're no longer strangers here. That is the magic of my tall, bearded husband, himself inhabited by the magic of endemic to a native Michigander, the kind that unites men and women in a kinetic enthusiasm for a day of sitting motionless beside a hole in a frozen lake.Read More
It keeps snowing.Read More
The first time I went cross-country skiing, I told myself that I was going to fall down, and I was going to laugh about it. In retrospect, I was overly optimistic.Read More
Blue skies and warming temperatures to the contrary, thaw is Upper Michigan's least lovely look. On the upside, the sun is out, but with it comes the realization that the last time you went skiing may have been the last time for the season. you may have taken your last ski without knowing it.Read More
You can see it on their faces tonight, as they stand around the fire in the snow. Even before that, you could hear it in their voices as they called down from the top of the ridge, see it in their eager skidding down through the high-piled drifts. By the time they threaded their way through the trails Bryan carved out (with an axe last fall, with a shovel these past months), and came to a stop at the leaning tamarack that points like a ship's prow toward the horizon, they were in love.Read More
Life doesn’t always keep up with the pace of the story we’re trying to tell about ourselves.Read More
Some days I wake up to find the room is drenched in fuzzy golden light, the kind that spills through the stained glass of a cathedral nave. I climb over my sleeping bearded husband (who protests), throw on my boots and my biggest coat while waiting for the water to heat up, and charge out into a world of diamonds and champagne.Read More
In or about 1820, glassmaker Henry David Schoolcraft developed a hubristic side gig in ethnography. He began publishing accounts of the Lake Superior region’s native language and lore. Despite being full of factual errors, these books established him an expert, and he was appointed as a federal “Indian agent." Tasked with advancing the United States’ appropriative interest in the Michigan territory, Schoolcraft continued publishing books on Ojibwe culture, all riddled with half truths and invented names.Read More
Summer here makes you forget there ever was a winter.Read More
This is feral Mishigamaa, formed by glaciers, volcanoes, storms and floods, bleeding out its age in copper, iron and limonite. This is the land where wolves roam the frozen lake in winter, and migrated birds return within hours of the melt. This is where the Mamaceqtaw speared salmon by torchlight, the Ojibwe recorded their dreams on birch scrolls, and the ghosts of the Mishinimaki still dance in their snowshoes.Read More
The ice was quiet, unlike the first lake of the day, which produced sounds that instilled fear from the part of my brain that remembers danger from long before I was born.Read More
Money grows on trees up here in the U.P., though it takes some education to spot it.Read More
Bryan builds a fire the way ranchers herd cattle, the way generals study a map, the way God created the earth.Read More
Whether told around a table of loved ones, on a movie screen, or even in a series of YouTube fails, the story of how holiday plans turn spectacularly wacky is a perennial favorite.
This is not one of those stories.Read More
At a recent party, Chris read my archetype and, as he often does, elaborated on it out of his own intuition. He offered caution about too much motion fostering an inability to settle on something when the right something arose.
The word didn't sound the way it used to. To my ears, it sounded like a loanword from a more comprehensive language, like an Inuit term for snow or a German term for sadness. For the first time, I didn't hear "settle" and think of concession, resignation, or inertial sinking into the earth.
Instead, I thought of the Keweenaw.