Tag Archives: adventure

Is it possible to pick kiwis in Michigan in late October?

Miniature kiwis

Miniature kiwis

What constitutes an ordinary adventure in our lives?

How do we discover the extraordinary hiding amidst the ordinary?

Is it possible to discover magic in our life when we least expect it?

Is it possible to feast upon tropical fruit growing along the shores of Lake Superior in late October?

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Holy Adventure, Batman!

From the hotel in St. Ignace this morning--guess what island this might be?

Sorry, kids.  Shades of childhood memories. (The Batman reference, that is.)

Want to guess why?

Because I’ve hopped in the car and driven almost 550 miles to my hometown of Yale, Michigan, to surprise my parents! 

That’s why.

For about two months I’ve been discussing this with Barry.

“I want to go visit my parents.  But I can’t.  We’re going to Georgia.  Then I’m going to NYC to visit Kiah in June.  There’s no time to visit them.  But I want to visit them.  It’s been too long.  It’s been six months.”

Poor Barry.  Every day.

Finally, yesterday, he said, “Just go!”

So guess what I did?

Hopped in the car and drove.   :)

Yep, it’s almost 550 miles.  Yep, I stopped overnight in St. Ignace.  Yep, it was a great trip.  And yep–you’ve got it–my family was surprised!

Lake Huron rock

I surprised my brother Tim, and his wife, Michele, and their grandbaby, Taylor, first.  Holy Surprise, Batman!  Michele stared, befuddled, for at least twenty seconds, when she spotted Kathy sitting in her driveway.  Kathy was supposed to be in the U.P.  What the heck?

Taylor, who had no idea who this stranger might be, invited her for a race.  A foot race.  To the mailbox and around the cul-de-sac.  The stranger thought–OK, we’ll lope easily to the mailbox and let Taylor win.  One must let three-year olds win.  That’s an unspoken rule.  We counted.  We took off! 

I’m sure you know how this story ends.  Aunt Kathy lost in a humiliating defeat.  Taylor left her trotting behind with no hopes of catching up. Figures.  Of course, I’m sure that’s because it was a LONG trip from the Upper Peninsula to the Lower Peninsula.  All those sedentary hours.  Must have been.

Then I drove to Yale.  Opened the door.  Walked in. 

“Hello?”

My mom answered from another room, “Hello?”  (She later revealed she thought I was Karen, another daughter-in-law from across the street.)

She came toward me from the living room.  Her jaw dropped.  She stared. She shook her head, trying to clear her befuddled mind.

“Kathy?” she said.

Kathy smiled.  Holy Surprise, Batman!

“Go downstairs and surprise your dad,” my mom said.

We started downstairs, where he was napping.

“Hello,” I said to the sleeping form.

“Hello,” the sleeping form responded.  “Hello?  Who is it?”

“It’s your daughter.”

“WHO?” the sleeping form said, opening his eyes.

“Your daughter.”

Holy third surprise, Batman! 

“Oh my goodness, Kath,” my dad said, sitting up.

YES!  (Surprises are fun.)

We walked upstairs.  In walked my sister-in-law, Karen.  Followed soon by niece, Keely.  Holy fourth and fifth surprise, Batman!  We should do this more often, the blogger thought.

In my childhood bedroom...

OK, Batman (or Robin, or whoever the heck I am)  doesn’t have much more time to type.  Things are happenin’!  I’m visiting my parents.  I wouldn’t be blogging at all except for Husband.  He said, “Go to see your parents.  But here’s the deal.  You must blog.”  Blogger said, “No, you can’t stipulate that.  I might not feel like blogging.  Remember the new agreement?”  He sighed.  He remembered.  But the poor man loves it when I blog.  Go figure.

P.S.  Haven’t had time to take any pictures–except outside the motel room this morning.  But you wouldn’t BELIEVE the beautiful haze of blooming flowers and electric greenery everywhere downstate.  It’s DEFINITELY spring down here!

Organized! Efficient! Energized!

Chillin'...

OK!  We all have had days when we’re chillin’ and it’s hard to accomplish anything and we’re just hanging around the house.  There might be 1,000,000 things to do, but all we can manage is to read our email, make lunch and maybe feed the birds.  It’s not what we call a productive day.  It’s a chillin’ day.

Today, dear reader, was anything BUT a chillin’ day!  I was productive!  Organized!  Efficient!  Energized!  Moving! 

First, I attacked the desk.  (“Attack”  is the appropriate word to describe the energy.  I took correspondence which had been tucked away in desk corners for two years and DEALT WITH IT.)

OK, truly, all that I attacked was the desk.  But from the desk, the energy swirled outward to the computer area, the basement, the closet.  Things went to their appropriate place.  Things were tossed, re-organized, re-prioritized.

When this energetic urge strikes, one must take full advantage.  It usually doesn’t last.  Energy like this comes and we do crazy things like clean our kitchen table, dust the headboard on our bed, vacuum!   Like a whirlwind, we cut, prune, toss, toss, toss!

Tomorrow we may be yawning.  Tomorrow we may think our most important Action in Life is to write a blog.  But today–we know the secret of life.  It’s all about energy.  It’s all about action.  It’s all about movement.

Has today been one of those energetic days for you?  When was the last time you experienced a wave of energy that allowed you to accomplish untold things?

(P.S.–a dear friend recently told me the Secret for gaining energy.  You do something New.  Something Wild. Something dangerous.  OK, I might argue with the word “dangerous” but she likes it.  My daughter suggested the word “adventurous”.  Have you done anything adventurous today? If not, I recommend it.  Adventure will create lots of energy. Tomorrow you, too, will be cleaning your desk like a dervish.  Give it a try.)

Energized!

Follow your heart’s quest…

Quest

Every once in a while an important quest calls us.  We can hear it whispering in our hearts.  Sometimes the quest is easy; other times hard.  Sometimes it takes everything we have to complete it.

If we are lucky, our quest illuminates our entire lives.  It teaches us what we have not yet noticed, what still remains hidden in our deepest self.  It reveals strength, commitment, tenderness, unexpected treasures.  Our heart guides us to our quest…and the quest ends up opening our heart even more.

Another definition of a quest is the way it moves us beyond our usual patterns.  It beckons us from the comfort of our habits, our compulsions, our regular beaten path through the days and weeks and years.

I believe our heart sends us on mini-quests all the time.  We don’t even label the promptings as quests.  Perhaps our heart begs us to open a spiritual center, or to paint pictures.  Perhaps it whispers to write a book, or travel to India or into the woods down the road.  Perhaps it advises caring for an aging parent, starting a blog.  Sometimes our quest is to communicate; other times it involves silence.  We never know what quest our heart shall send us on next.  It’s a journey into the unknown, into untraveled territory.

A marvelous quest...

I just finished reading a book about a Big Quest.  It is called “A 1,000- Mile Walk on the Beach” by Loreen Niewenhuis.  The subtitle is “One Woman’s Trek of the Perimeter of Lake Michigan.”

As most of you know, Lake Michigan lies south of Lake Superior, a sister lake, one of the Great Lakes.  Last spring and fall I blogged about Mike Link and Kate Crowley walking around Lake Superior and unofficially met Loreen by reading her blog, Lake Trek.

The route of a quest

She says, “Life should be an adventure.” 

I agree.

Meet Loreen!

I almost actually met Loreen during her hike north of Traverse City in 2009.  Well, I could have met her.  Here’s what  happened.  I was eating breakfast downstate in Bellaire, meeting blogger-friend Gerry from Torch Lake Views.  Having spent many teenage days in Antrim County at my parent’s cottage, I was eager to meet Gerry who lived nearby. 

As we sipped our coffee, Gerry said she had another date after breakfast.  She was hiking with a woman walking around Lake Michigan.  Too bad I couldn’t accompany them…  Gerry’s dogs, Miss Sadie and the Cowboy, were already in the car, awaiting the Grand Adventure.

In which I meet Gerry, Miss Sadie and The Cowboy--before they meet Loreen.

You’ll have to read the book to read the segment about Loreen’s hike with Gerry and the dogs.  You’ll learn about blisters on feet, dunes, camping with raccoon visitors, fascination with roadkill.  (Yep, I would be fascinated, too.)

You’ll learn what it felt like to hike through Chicago and the industry around Gary, Indiana.  You’ll be saddened to discover that there are places around Lake Michigan where scuba divers have received burns diving in polluted waters. 

You’ll learn about the precious eco-system which surrounds the lake and the ways mankind has threatened the natural balance.

Loreen hiked the lake in ten segments in 2009.  Her heart called her on a Big Quest, and she didn’t refuse its calling.  In her words: “When I turned 45, I felt something pull at me, goading me to take on something bigger than myself, to challenge myself in a big way.”

She did.  She heeded her inner calling, and hiked.  I applaud you, Loreen.  You inspire me to listen to what my heart is whispering.  My quest may not be a big hike around the lake, but it’s a quest, nonetheless.

Readers, I hope your voice will give you the courage and inspiration to follow your own inner nudgings and promptings as they arise.  To leave the beaten path of everyday reactions, and venture toward a deeper response. It may only feel like a small prompting, a small quest–but listening to the deepest heart has a way of leading us where we need to travel next.

I know we’re all listening.  I just pray that we all have the strength to follow when our heart nudges.

Listening deeper...shhh...can you hear the water lapping gently against the beach?

Catch a shooting star & remember it until you’re 80 years old.

Magic sheen of waves

Yesterday evening was magical. 

The kind of evening I will remember when I am eighty years old.

Children play in warm Lake Superior waters

An evening when we lingered along the rocky beach at the Calumet Waterworks, gathering rocks.  After a while I tired of admiring the green and red and black stones and attempted to capture the silvery sheen of waves crashing along the shore.  Especially the long silver backs of the waves before they foamed wild against the shore.

Trail of stones

The world of stones

It was a warm evening.  Maybe 80 degrees.  Sue and Katina had so kindly invited me to accompany them on a camping trip to Bete Grise beach (pronounced by good Yoopers as Bay de Gree) near Lac la Belle.  Long sandy wilderness stretches of beach meet Lake Superior in one of the most deserted spots in the Keweenaw Peninsula.  This beach stretches along the lake about 1 1/2 – 2 hours from our house.

"Our" picnic table...the beach where we slept.

After we gathered and admired the rocks at the Waterworks, we proceeded north to Bete Grise Beach.  Surprisingly enough, many folks lingered in the warm surf of the evening. 

We started a fire.  We poured a celebratory glass of wine and munched on snacks from the Keweenaw Co-op.  We saw–are you ready for this?–a black bear tearing through garbage bags near the rest room.  In the early dusk we approached for a magnificent photo shoot.  Well, not a magnificent photo shoot because it was too close to dark.  But we captured several great shots of our bear.  (Tomorrow, tomorrow, dear reader!  I have 150 photos!  Too many to show you in one evening.)

Sue and Kitty...my beautiful friends!

One of the reasons I will forever remember this evening is this:  it was the first night in my life that I slept tent-less in a sleeping bag under the stars.  We cuddled in our sleeping bags (except for Kitty who slept under a blanket on a tarp) and watched the Perseid meteor showers. 

Kitty drumming before the fire

Yes!  Yes!  There’s one!  There’s another!  Look!  Look at that !  Wow! 

We saw at least a dozen shooting stars before we closed our eyes and drifted toward sleep with the crescent moon winking in the background and the planets gleaming bright in the night sky.

Our sleeping bags soon grew damp and sand covered our pillows.  The lull of the waves breaking against the shore either A) disturbed us slightly with the constant noise or B) rocked us to sleep.  I felt my body sinking into the sand, becoming part of the earth and sky.  It felt exquisite. 

Even though a black bear had lurked less than a football field away, and even though an occasional vehicle passed by, I felt safer than safe.  The night protected us.  The sand protected us.  The waves rocked us back into our deepest self.  It was a gorgeous night.

We awoke to six droplets of rain.  That’s all.  We careened out of our sleeping bags at 6:15 a.m. and watched the dawn skies.

Dawn. Before the storm...

Later we meandered down to Calumet for breakfast.  An elderly lady wearing a cross told us a dirty joke.  (Tomorrow or the next day!  Hold your horses!  How can you fit all of this in ONE single blog?)

A storm brewed from the west.  The skies turned dark and ominous before pouring, pouring, pouring rain from the grey clouds.  We sipped our coffee and munched our eggs and bought thimbleberry jam. 

What an incredible adventure!  Thank you, Sue.  Thank you, Kitty.  I feel so deeply indebted to you for this memory which shall be treasured for many long years to come.  Bless you both.

Real Lake Superior Spirit, Fortitude, Sisu & Tenacity

The Huron Bay (between two trees)

 Time to ‘fess up, Readers.  How many miles have you walked at one time?  Have you ever walked five miles?  Ten miles?  An unbelievable twenty miles? 

Please register your all-time record in the comments below.  Mine was five miles on Fort Myers Beach maybe ten years ago.  I walked up the beach from the south end of the island to the north.  Afterward, I ached for two days.  OK, OK, I’m not in the most tip-top physical shape! 

A bay which has recently lost its ice cover

 Tonight I want to share an Inspiring Story with you.  It’s the story of two people who aim to walk 1,800 miles around the shores of Lake Superior starting on April 29th.  Yes, you read that correctly.  Kate Crowley and Mike Link, a husband & wife team from Minnesota, both in their 60′s, will circle around the Big Lake.  Their trip is estimated to take six months. 

Can any one of you readers imagine accomplishing this?  I am so inspired about their Sisu.  (Sisu is the Finnish word for strength of will, perseverance, determination, dedication.  We know that because a lot of Finns have settled around Lake Superior and taught us about the valor of this word.)  

Keweenaw Bay

 There are two ways we can follow their progress.  I discovered about this adventure in Lake Superior Magazine.   This is an absolutely beautiful magazine with incredible photographs of Kitchee-Gami.  (That’s the Ojibway word for Lake Superior.)  Truly, if you ever leaf through this magazine, you will drool at the dancing colors of water, the up-close views of moose and bear, the exquisite shades of leaves in autumn.  

They are helping sponsor the 1,800 mile adventure.  Every month we’ll get updates about the progress of the two hikers.  

Our other option is to visit their website:  Full Circle:  A Journey Around the Greatest Lake.  Today it says:  34 days until countdown.  

Stones underfoot--hard walking

 They plan to stay as close to the shore as possible as they circumvent the lake.  They are both naturalists, interested not only in the adventure, but also in educating others.  Therefore, they have a second important goal:  to record the flora and fauna that exists in 2010 around the shore of the lake.  This kind of information was recorded a century ago, but there have been many climate and landscape changes since then.  

Won’t it be interesting to see what differences and similarities they discover? 

Remnants of ice along the shore

 Want to know some other fascinating statistics published in the Lake Superior magazine?  Let’s say that you decided to walk 1,800 miles south from Marquette, Michigan.  You know where you’d end up?  Cozumel, Mexico.  (That’s how far they’re walking, folks!) 

Free and clear of ice, the waves lap against the shore

 I am suddenly thinking my five-mile lifetime expedition should be upped a bit.  Maybe to seven miles?  What do you think? YIKES–Why did I just write that??

My other thought is:  it would be fun shout “hello!” or even stop by talk to Kate and Mike when they’re navigating next to the Huron or Keweenaw Bay sometime next summer or fall.  I could even tell you guys about it. 

Anyway, just wanting to wish the couple GOOD LUCK! and safe and enjoyable hiking around our beautiful lake.  They truly have Lake Superior Spirit.  We’re cheering them on from the sidelines!