Tuesday, October 27, 2009

the story of k's 35th birthday and my last hurrah before returning to work--Part 1

the week of the 13th of october I headed out by my lonesome on a little adventure to kind of say goodbye to all of this time off. Two days were spent alone and then my love and many of my pals met me up north at all season's to help celebrate my lovely kk's 35th birthday.

On my alone adventure, I went to a bed and breakfast in bellaire, mi for one night and visited short's brewery. Short's makes delicious beer and sipping on two different lovely, hoppy beers off draft made me happy. I wandered down the brisk autumn michigan streets of a small northern, but not totally north town, back to my cozy b and b and took a warm bath in a deep, clawfoot tub. Then I slept and awoke to a yummy gourmet breakfast of mushroom oil infused spinach, feta eggs; brioche with orange sauce and cranberries; fresh berries with orange cream yogurt and fake sausage. I drank seven cups of coffee cause I was nervous which, of course, made me more than nervouse. All of the other guests were in their late 60s or early 70s and then there was little boy/girl me from ypsilanti.

treating myself to a b and b

then I headed out for a scenic drive to all season's (k's dad's rustic resort up in Carp Lake). I stopped at King Orchards and Friske Orchards and bought apples, honey, dried michigan cherries sweetened with apple juice, and apple butter. I slowly made my way to Carp Lake. I went on an 18 mile bike ride (which included a bit of the Mackinac to Petoskey rails to trails cause I put some cyclocross tires on my sweet, burly Portland) I cooked a small dinner for myself in K's dad's cabin and then sat with grandma C. We watched wheel of fortune and jeopardy.

Carp Lake Rails to Trails. On this trail I met a little old man with a rifle. He was very kind and hunting partridge, but really he was going for his second nature filled walk of the day.

Then I headed over to my cozy, little cabin (cabin number 1) and watched the American Masters' documentary on Joan Baez.

Then I slept and slept and slept. I fell to sleep at midnight and did not get out of bed till almost 11:00. It was a crazy deep sleep. The kind where you almost could adult wet the bed cause you are too passed out to wake and dreams of peeing start to filter through your mind...

Anyhow, the next day I took myself on a car tour through the tunnel of trees (M119) from Cross Village to Harbor Springs. I was going to ride my bike (lots of bicycley mags/articles touted the tunnel of trees as a great bicycling route). I am thankful I did not venture on the many miled trip cause it is a freaky road to drive in a car on let alone try to wind and wind and climb hills and wind and wind on a bicycle. It was gorgeous.

a view of the big lake from the tunnel of trees

I stopped at Pond Hill Farm and bought some awesome michigan apricot (the jar was consumed in something like four days by me) jam and some turnips and carrots for the stew that I made for k's b-day celebration.

Then I drove back to Carp Lake and wrapped k's b-day gifts and continued to draw pictures on the paper bag wrapping.

I read and relaxed and waited for my love to arrive. Finally, she drove in with the triple As (yes, three dear friends with names that start with A, and they all stayed in cabin number 3 together). We stayed up way to late talking and talking and laughing.

The next day some of the folks (all ladies) who had arrived on Thursday night and/or Friday morning went on a glorious hike along the wooded dunes of Lake Michigan. It poured on us. But it took two hours and was invigorating.

Ladies on the Lake Michigan's shore while hiking

After that big hike, I decided to ride my bike with T motion to Legs Inn where a bunch of us met for dinner on Friday night. It was freezing out; probably in the high 30s which is colder than usual around that time of year in Northern Michigan. T and I had a fun ride; we avoided most of the hills, and we made the 18 miles pretty quickly. We all gorged ourselves on lots of polish food and beer and then T and I (and our bicycles) both hitched rides home. I also got to try out my new bicycle helmet, head lamp that T had ordered for me and K a while back. His has been a hit around ypsi and now we have some to go with his!

Hockey at legs

Then we headed back to the cabins and drank bourbon and beer and played euchre and spoons in one cabin and then in another folks played apples to apples. The euchre cabin, where I was, was the X rated cabin; the apples to apples cabin, where K was for most of the night, was the PG cabin. We vividly and unabashedly discussed taint in the X rated cabin if that gives you any clue about the dirtiness.

The next day was Saturday, October 17th, K's 35th birthday. She is getting older and her eggs are drying up (which may or may not matter to us), but we had a glorious day. While the day was cold (in the 40s) the sun shone like mad. a bunch of us went on a good 24 mile bicycle ride around the shore of lake michigan into Mackinaw City and back to the resort. We took our time and marveled at the water and the wind and the sun and all the things that make me glad to be alive.

the birthday bike ride. all of us lookign up at birds that were almost black dots on the blue sky; they flew so high.

the rest of the 35th birthday weekend to be continued...sooner

Thursday, October 22, 2009

a question for all of you

A question for all of you, my kind readers--from where does your spring and supply of compassion originate and continue? What keeps it flowing? What do you do if it runs dry? What do you do when hope becomes a wrinkled, burnt raisin on the vine? tell me please how do YOU maintain compassion.

Friday, October 9, 2009


I've been digging a hole in my backyard. It is an experiment. A root cellar experiment. I will be sinking a rubbermaid tub full up of sand and apples, carrots, and squashes down in my deep, deep hole. I will seal it up tight and add rocks to the top to keep out unwanted critters. It may work. The hole will end up being approximately 4 X 4 X 4.

Grave like.

I love the soil. I love digging in it and pulling my hands through it. I've found quite a few bones in this area of the yard. I've also had to lacerate tree roots, and I marvel at the water that pours from their sad underground limbs--so much like blood, so full of life.

The theme of this week; maybe the theme of my whole sabbatical is soil--earth--that living body of death, decay, life and energy below us. I am reading the Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan right now and re-reading the Unsettling of America by Wendell Berry and simultaneously digging a hole in my backyard and watching my chickens shit and scratch and cultivate and create beautiful, fertile compost.

It is all too amazing for words. And still my eyes well up with tears as I read and dig and watch because, dammit, I desire something different for my life. I desire this closeness to the earth that I have been able to foster over the last few months away from my paid work.

The Worst Hard Time is about the dust bowl--the killing off of the buffalo; the massacre of the soil the destruction of the earth in the name of profit and the constructed american dream that trampled down the Comanche and other indigenous people in the name of profit for the "civilized" and the mad vengeance that befell the people who were still there when the dust came ripping. I'm not done with the text yet, but the first 90 pages are a fantastic historical account of the tragedy that human beings can create by fucking up the planet.

In the Unsettlng of America there is a great chapter called The Use of Energy. It is all about soil and agriculture and the destruction that we have waged on the planet through the god of big agribusiness and our disconnection from the land, animals, and plants.

on my mind.

I'll end with this great passage by Mr. Berry, "The Soil is the great connector of lives, the source and destination of all. It is the healer and restorer and resurrector, by which disease passes into health, age into youth, death into life. Without proper care for it we can have no community, because without proper care for it we can have no life."