Wednesday, December 31, 2008

niche, Grad Predjama

This is the absolutely unadulterated original photo from which I created the piece on Imagik for Nadine at in Blue Ink.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas Ornaments

I am making Christmas Ornaments as gifts. Well, I hope I am. I don't know how many I'll have time to make, but here's one I made for BB.

Creative every Day #? (I've already lost track, too busy!)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

making cards

We went out looking at houses and went cross country skiing and I made
cards to give as gift using my photos, my drawings, my paintings and
my digital art. Each one is different and I spend time choosing cards
to match and "scrapbooking" them with various backgrounds and effects.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

gift card sketches and paintings

I am in gift card mode, painting small paintings to put on cards to
give as holiday gifts. Here are a few of them. More in progress.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The fractal moon

I wanted to do something creative for The Creative Every Day
challlenge that I signed on for llast night when I was sick of
Christmas stuff. I decided to do fractal art and creative this
fractal in Apophysis. I then adjusted and brightened it and tried
various color combinations in Irfanview (a free download) and then
created the last image using the changed fractal in photoshop. I
further adjusted it and played with it in Picasa (a free download) and
posted it to Imagik, Monday artday and No Poalr Coordinates. Now I
will go to Leah's blog and let her know what I did. This is a long,
drawn out process so I definitely won't post every day, but I will be
creative every day, LOL!

Friday, December 05, 2008

The Sinking Raft

The Sinking Raft

Slowly, my husband unloves me.  He stops
putting the clean laundry in the drawers, then stops
fluffing and folding it.  Brings it up and dumps it
in a tangle.  Stops greasing my feet, rubbing my back,
making love to me.  "I will do everything,"
he said, when he was courting.  I dream of Florence,
wife of John, my botany professor.  More than forty
years ago, John tried to get me into bed.  I refused,
despite his gifts and constant attention, but Katra caved
and fell that long dark fall where you know you'll die
when you hit bottom, and she wasn't dreaming.
Katra didn't die, she became a lesbian, after John.
Who could blame her?  And Florence had an unfaithful

husband.  I hated John for that.  "I'll do everything,"
my husband said.  "You can't," I countered. 
He tried, but couldn't.  Of course
he couldn't. No one could.  I can't
do anything.  I rarely sleep, stare, zombie-like
at the increasing chaos I can't control
with my exhausted brain and body. 
But each time he stops, I see him turning away,
turning his face to the wall, inching toward the farthest
edge of the bed, away from me.  He does that, too. 
Leaves me in sleep.  I leave him, too,
get up and pace
the dark for  hours, too tired
to be useful.  I finally sleep and go

somewhere he's never been, without him. 
When I dream of Florence, her refrigerator is full
of broken eggs.  She fries eggs for all the women
her husband courts, and everyone gets eggs
but me.  But why go back now, forty years later?
Menopause?  Dashed hopes, broken dreams?
Is, like John, my husband unfaithful?  "Remember
when you used to love me?" I ask my husband.
He tries the same on me.  "See how it hurts?"
He clings to me in bed, before he turns away,
clings as to a life-raft in a stormy sea.
I cling to him.  We're not unfaithful, only old
and getting daily older.

Mary Taitt
081205-1026-1c; 081205-0945 1st

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Uncertain Sky, An Elegy for Donna

Another Elegy for my friend Donna who recently passed away after an
aneurism and stroke.

The Uncertain Sky
An Elegy for Donna

As I draw a single line through your name
in my address book, not too dark, so I can read
the letters, not too dark, as if by writing lightly,
you might somehow return,
as I watch the pencil cut letter by letter
through your name, I burst out crying.
I am a flood of tears; I wail and howl.
Though I haven't seen you for months,
almost years, I can't believe you are gone.
For those who saw you daily, who laughed
at your jokes and stories, who felt the warmth
and sweet smell of your skin, how merciless
the morning clouds. I haven't forgotten you.
Even after senility and death, you will be with me.
Outside, the last faded leaves cling to the uppermost
branches. I wipe my eyes and stare
into the uncertain sky. One leaf
detaches, and floats, this way and that,
lifted, then dashed by a breeze, as our hopes
were dashed, lifted and crushed after your stroke.
A momentary shaft of sun lights the last yellow
and gold leaf and together, they vanish.

Mary Stebbins Taitt

Friday, November 07, 2008

Out of Control

Out of Control

Today, my mother is scheduled to die. 
She will swallow a lethal dose of poison. 
Her begging for death, her plans and schemes,
have finally paid off.  She will join my father at last.
Before she goes, I want to race to the nursing home
to say goodbye, to say "I love you."  But the roads are snowy
and slick.  A good foot of snow, packed to ice in spots.
As I turn to the left, up a long hill, the car slides
backwards, faster and faster, slipping into the left lane.
I panic, stab wildly around with my foot, can't find the brakes.
Cars fly past on both sides.  I slide out of control,
can't even steer into my own lane.  Finally,
I find the brake, pump it enough to slow the car, and start
back up the long hill toward my mother's death.
I am afraid I'll be late.  She'll already be gone
and all my love and goodbyes will stay unspoken,
sticking in the throat of my heart like tears.

Mary Stebbins Taitt
081107-1225-1b; 081107-1st

Out of Control

Out of Control

Today, my mother is scheduled to die from a lethal dose
of poison.  Her begging for death has finally paid off.
I want to get to the nursing home before she goes
to say goodbye, to say I love you.  But the roads are snowy
and slick.  As I turn to the left, up a long hill, the car slides
backwards, faster and faster, slipping into the left lane.
I panic, stab around with my toe, can't find the brakes.
Cars fly past on both sides.  I can't even steer
into my own lane. I slide out of control.  Finally,
I find the brake, pump it enough to slow the car, and start
back up the long hill toward my mother's death.
I am afraid I'll be late; she'll already be gone
and I won't get to say goodbye.

Mary Stebbins Taitt

I want to say goodbye to my mother.
I am out of control.
I am sliding backwards.  Backsliding.
I am going the wrong way.
I am in the wrong place.
I can't find the brakes.
I am afraid I will be late
I am afraid I won't get to say goodbye.
I am worried about my mother's death.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


How Geraldine Becomes a Seamstress
(Almost resembling a Ghazal)

Geraldine stares, smiles and stares, as the leaves fall
like rain, like snow, like cats and dogs, the leaves fall.

Reds and oranges, yellows and browns, purples and golds,
mustards and plums, soaring, dropping and drifting, leaves fall.

They flutter and wobble, they dance and tumble, catch
the light and hold it brightly, briefly, the falling leaves.

Under the trees, thousands of leaves. Geraldine lifts handfuls,
armfuls, tosses them high and tilts her face up to the falling leaves.

They shine like church windows, fly like maple seeds, sing
like hummingbird wings, rattle like bones, the falling leaves.

She piles up leaves and falls backwards into them,
spreads her arms and laughs. Above her, the leaves fall.

On her belly she tunnels, buries herself, swims and rolls
and comes up like an otter to a sky full of leaves, falling.

She sniffs them: they smell like dirt, like the forest, like autumn,
like the grass and the flower gardens, buried now by fallen leaves.

She strokes them: they feel like paper, like leather, like velvet,
like cloth, like sandpaper, like skin, like love, like fallen leaves.

Fragments of fabric, bright-colored bows, birthday confetti,
plucked petals of flowers, bits for collage—the fallen leaves.

She studies the veins, the patches of color, the subtle changes,
sorts them and matches them, no two alike, the fallen leaves.

She traces leaves on cloth, cuts their shapes, paints. With her mother
helping, stitches them to make a quilt. Sleeps under fallen leaves.

In the morning, leaves again. Geraldine dances. She twirls and pirouettes,
sings, laughs and murmurs merry noises in the fallen and falling leaves.

Mary Stebbins Taitt
081105-2121-2d; 081105-0011-1st
I wrote this this morning at 11 minutes after 12. I've revised it 4 times since then. It's a modified (simplified) Ghazal ("Guzzle") form. Prolly still not done.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Bye-bye Sam Peabody

Bye-bye Sam Peabody
(How Luisa visits Ethel, Gerald and Geraldine in the Wee Wee Hours)

Sorry to barge in at 3 AM. I know you don't think I should camp
alone, but I crave camping and with Jake gone, I have no one.
So, alone at South Meadow, I pitch my tent and this dude
ambles up and says, "Are you camping alone"
and I stupidly say "yes" and he says, "You shouldn't.
It's not safe. You should move your tent over to my campsite
and I'll protect you. The woods are full of violence
and dangerous men." He looks okay, smallish, about my age,
sandy greying hair, but restless and jittery, kind of nervous.
As he yammers on about my sharing his campsite, snakes
crawl over him, hundreds of them. His face sprouts scales
and more snakes writhe around his feet. You know I like snakes,
but not these. Coals glow inside black eye-pits. Slime oozes
from their skin. Only of course, they're not there, and no,
I'm not crazy. He looks pleasant and friendly but smells
of sulphur and ozone—really! (Only not really). He makes me feel
defenseless, almost naked. Yeah, frightened. My tiny tent
looks increasingly vulnerable. As he rattles on, I look longingly
at the blueberries with their autumn-red leaves, the yellow and orange
aspen and deer tracks marking the sand. A white-throated sparrow
calls in the meadow: Sam Peabody Peabody Peabody Peabody.

Sam flee flee flee flee ((if reading aloud, also whistle this))

Then a loon laughs, a wild insane tremolo. Like a witch. Usually,
when loons sing, awe fills me, not fear. Already the sun hangs low
and red over the waving marsh grass, reflecting in the twisting waterway
like a curved red pathway that could lead to happiness or . . .
or terror. The air tingles with cold and smells of damp leaves,
frost and a hint of late berries. It's getting dark. I want
to cook dinner, sleep in my tent, and wake in the woods,
to a weekend of mountain glory. But this guy hovers
too close. "So are you coming over to my site?" he asks, yet again.
"Yeah, okay," I say, "let me get my tent down." He offers to help
and I tell him to go start a fire for dinner and I'll be right over.
As soon as he's out of sight, I tear down my tent, fastest decamping
in the history of the world, shove it in my car, leap in and race
up the dirt road. Sand, gravel and stones fly out as I drive
like a meteor, faster than I've ever driven. I cry.
I toss glances behind me to see if he's chasing me in his truck.
I think perhaps I will camp somewhere else, but my heart thumps
so loudly in my ears that I hurtle faster and faster, away from him
and down the long winding roads through the darkness to you
and your reassuring hugs. Ahhh, your hugs soothe and warm me.

Mary Stebbins Taitt___________________________________
------this line and everything below this line is not part of this poem------
081030-1415-3c; 081029-2313-2e; 081027/8-0013-1st; note to self: if
this is written as a story, go back to earlier drafts for details not
included in this draft.

Lone Jellyfish

Lone Jellyfish
How Ethel Speaks to Gerald of the Transatlantic

When the sun is a small lone jellyfish in the vast sea of sky,
it barely seems to move. It drifts with the slow westward tide
in narrow increments. The day stretches, spacious and almost endless.
But on these chill November mornings, when I want to take my tea
in a spot of sun, I realize, finally, how the sun races across the yard,
taking with it the days, the weeks, my dwindling memory, my mind
and my life. Every day I forget something new. Soon, Gerald, I'll forget
your name and the day we met, standing so innocently, randomly
and fortuitously in the mist at Niagara, watching the gulls fly
through the shimmering rainbows and the rime frost sparkle
on every twig and blade of grass. Remember how our shoulders
accidentally touched and we turned to one another and our eyes
locked? Already the cold shadow creeps over my right shoulder.
Darkness always gobbles me from the right, as I shuffle my chair
to the left. It would be different, below the equator, wouldn't? Tell me
I haven't forgotten this; tell me you remember the electricity,
the shock when our hands first touched. I know I forget things,
but I mustn't forget our love. Gerald, do you love me still? Look,
already, I have moved my chair all the way across the yard.
I will have to sit in the frozen flowers next and then what?
I'm frightened honey. Come hold my hand.

Mary Stebbins Taitt

New poem from the Geraldine MS

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Ozark Autumn, in progress

A partially completed Moleskine sketch for a Moleskine exchange group. Click image to view larger--it is all made out of dots laboriously added by hand.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sounding the Sea, an Elegy for Donna

My husband scorches me with his skin, so hot
I often turn away and gasp, throw off the covers.  But not
tonight.  Tonight, I cling to him, savoring his heat, the touch
of his body along the length of mine, the reassuring
scent of his flesh.  I think of you, suddenly gone
from the world, from my life, from yourself
and your earthly body, from your grieving husband
and children, and remember how you loved,
so lustfully, so heartily.  How happy you had finally
become, with Terry, with your remodeled home,
with you new lean body, with your life.  Happy.
Pleased with your 900-pound moose, all that food
a year's worth, maybe.  And the next day, your aneurysm
and stroke, your coma.  The waiting.  The agonizing
of family and friends, the hopes rising and falling.  Finally,
the letting go.  The tears.  How intelligent you were,
how funny.  Hilarious.  The stories you told!
You held us spellbound.  Your heart was so big that we all
found a home inside.  You could sound the deepest ocean
with the depth of your caring.  But you turned into a tiger
when your children were threatened.  Attacked evil
with a shovel and a strong arm.  Farm woman, Jill
of all trades, keeper of pigs, chickens, dogs, cats, a cow.
You lived at the edge of the world, the edge of the forest,
the end of the country.  Beyond you, there was nothing,
and now nothing has moved in, leaving a gaping hole.

My husband scorches me with his skin, so hot
I often turn away and gasp, throw off the covers.
I think of Terry, his sorrowing arms empty of you, I think of you,
no longer able to lie beside him, and wonder if angels
remember and enjoy the pleasures of the flesh. 
Oh, how in dreams I turn to love!  How hard the table feels,
bruising my knuckles.  How wet the water, drowning me,
until I wake in terror.  How cold the snow.  How precise
the dreaming mind can be, amidst the flight and the fantastic,
how solid can be flesh, and warm, and hungry. Eager.
Can you feel his arms and ours, do you, out there beyond, dream
of him, of us, as we dream of you?

Mary Stebbins Taitt

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Surface of the Moon (How Ellsbeth Saved the Day)

The Surface of the Moon (How Ellsbeth Saved the Day)

Ellsbeth carried the wedding cake through the woods in the rain. 
She arrived late and followed the balloons tied to the trees. 
Large droplets splashed from the leaves onto her perfect frosting,
pocking it like the surface of the moon.  Out the long narrow trail
through the woods she staggered, holding the heavy cake
under bent shoulders to protect it from the rain, tripping
on roots because she couldn't see her feet.  When she got to the circle
of folding chairs in the clearing, she saw no other food and knew
she'd made a mistake.  Standing behind the others, she pulled off
her petticoats and made a tent for the cake on the forest floor
between the trilliums and bellworts.  She sat on the leaves beside it,
brushing away ants, holding her wide-brimmed hat over the petticoats
and crying quietly.  When it was time for her to sing, she stood
where she was at the back and raised her voice:

    A-a-mazing Grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me....
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now, I see.

Ellsbeth felt something on her foot and looked down.  A squirrel
sat on her foot, leaned toward the cake to take a bite.  Ellsbeth
nudged the squirrel with her foot, pushing it away from the cake.

Through many dangers, toils, and snares,
I have already come;
'tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
and grace will lead me home.

The squirrel circled the cake, and Ellsbeth decided it couldn't be wild.
It must be a tame squirrel, probably a pet.  She bent, picked up the cake,
And with the squirrel attempting to climb her leg, digging its nails
Through the mesh of stockings into her skin, she sang,

Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
and mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess, within the veil,
a life of joy and peace.

Mary Stebbins Taitt
Afterward:  After the ceremony, Ellsbeth smoothed the frosting and everyone declared it was the best and richest wedding cake they had every tasted.  They set aside a piece for the squirrel, who was one of Geraldine's rescues, named Squeakers.

NOTE to self:  Cut down the number of lines of the song sung (?)

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Harmonies of Grief, with footnote

The Harmonies of Grief,
How Luisa and Geraldine Sing the Dirge

Luisa screams and screams. Blood gushes
from a gash on her forehead, her right arm hangs
limp at her side and a ripped section of her dress flops
blood-damp around her thighs in the wind. She sits
among pale emeralds of shattered glass, holds Jake
with her left arm, and rocks him. Squeezes him.
Jake lolls on her arm. She screams, sobs. Subsides
to silent weeping. Then screams again. Geraldine crawls
on the hot sand to kneel beside Aunt Luisa, stares at Uncle Jake
and wails. She lays a hand on Aunt Luisa and one on Uncle Jake.
His skin is warm, but his head hangs crookedly
to the side. It looks wrong. Geraldine wails and sways,
wails and sways. She pitches her keening to harmonize
with Aunt Luisa’s. But Aunt Luisa bleeds; her arm dangles.
Geraldine stands, loses her balance, falls, stands again,
and crosses the sand. She climbs the bluff toward the road.
Every few feet, she slides back, but she persists. Flags
down a car. Waits for the ambulance. The paramedics
cover Jake’s face, but Aunt Luisa uncovers it to give him
a kiss. Then kisses him again. Jake’s car rests upside down
on the beach. As the paramedics raise the stretchers
up the bluff, gulls descend to Jake’s potato chips,
scattered in an arc across the sand.

(scattered[1] in an arc across the sand.)

Mary Stebbins Taitt

--------This line and everything below this line is not part of this poem.--------
081018-2145-4a; 081016-2153-3a; 081015-2235-2a; 081014-2335-1st, an attempt at a 20-line E-prime poem for Dawn’s class, due Monday, October 21.

[1] There is an invisible state of being verb in this final phrase: (which are) scattered in an arc across the sand. I could edit it to read:

up the bluff, gulls descend to Jake's potato chips. The impact

scattered them in an arc across the sand.

Imagine, perhaps, that for the sake of the exercise, I did that, and let me know which you prefer.

Lying Awake with the Rubber Backbone

Your son doesn't know that you lie awake all night,

listening for his arrival. No phone call, no note, no word

from him, no idea of his whereabouts. He's just decided

to have a sleepover and not let us know, your husband says,

trying to reassure you. He's grounded from sleepovers

so he knows we'll deny him. Of course, that was what you

imagine, too. What you want to believe. You want him safe,

having fun. Thoughtlessly happy and safe.

Safe. And then you imagine priests and predators

and all the terrible things that happen to young teens,

those things that fill the lurid headlines you try to refuse

to read or hear. What if he's in trouble, desperately

hoping for rescue, while you both lie in bed, doing nothing

but staring at the dark ceiling, watching patterns of light shift

with each passing cars? Fewer and fewer cars pass,

less and less often the dim rainbow squares slide

across the flat black sky as the red numerals on the clock

slowly turn, minute by minute. Should you notify the police

of his failure to return? I don't expect him home until late

tomorrow, your husband says. He's probably right,

but you want to kick him, for not sounding worried

enough. Your son, wherever he is, can't see you lying here,

turning your backs to each other, worried, angry, fearful.

He can't imagine being old, can't imagine a heart

other than his own, beating into the darkness,

and if he could, he wouldn't care. Nor can he picture you

at fourteen. He doesn't believe that you can and cannot

remember what is was like to be his age. He imagines

your lives, if he thinks of them at all, so different from his

as to be irrelevant. Useless. All that matters to him

is his own immediate pleasure, and not the consequences

of his actions or the pain he causes others. Tomorrow,

when he's hungry, he'll return, pretending nothing happened,

because if nothing happened, there with be no punishment.

He will want not what you eat, what you carefully, lovingly prepared,

but soda, double chocolate Milano cookies, microwave mac and cheese.

He will complain bitterly if the freezer isn't stocked

to his preferences. Your husband, feeling exhausted, spineless

and limp on his 63rd birthday, will hide in his painting and do

and say exactly what his son wanted, nothing, giving the boy

permission for more of the same. You, his wife will imagine divorce,

a quiet cabin in the country. Freedom from the having to care

for anyone unable to return an ounce of love. When the lights

on the ceiling increase again and then fade into dawnlight and the boy

has not returned, you know it will get worse before it gets better.

Or it will never get better. If the boy survives

to return, it's all downhill forever, as it always was.

Mary Taitt, 081020-1141-1b

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Just so

Raw Process, LOL!

Just so

I know how to hold my head just so, so that when I look
in the mirror each day, I see the girl I have always seen,
the face I identify with self, with me, the green forest eyes,
the calm, yearning face.  But the world has forgotten who I am.
I know this, because pictures see what the world sees:
an old woman, lined, wrinkled and tired.

My mother always said, almost until she died, I'm still
.  She hated pictures of herself, hated the mirror,
preferred the girl inside who loved and laughed, who played
and danced.  Me too.  But I sing and dance a little less now,
because the world can't see that girl inside who sings and dances.
The world's version of me shrinks and crawls

inexorably toward death.  The world denies singing
to the dying. I see reflections of dark wings and disapproval
in the eyes around me, the world's eyes in all my friends'
and family's faces.  So I dance and dance.  I sing and laugh
and play at midnight, quietly, while the world sleeps. 
Darkness dances with me, swings me, like a partner.

   *   *   *   *   *

Write beyond the end of the poem, everyone always says. 
When you get to the end, when it feels like a nice neat little package,
you're almost ready for a breakthrough.  But my mind swings shut,
clamps down like a steal trap.  THIS is the END it insists,
stamping it's foot like a petulant child.

This is the end and there is no more and we have other things to do. 
So shut up and leave us alone. It's a stupid poems anyway, same old shit
and full of cliches and there is nothing new to add to it, nothing.
I was just noticing this morning, as I always do that I look sort of pretty in the mirror
and I look old and ugly in most photographs and I can only assume
that old and ugly is how I look to the world.

I was also chuckling about the photos that poets and writers put on their books, always about ten or more years younger than they really are.  Always having almost the identical simpering sad happy yearning melancholy look--the look that says this is the real me.  The inner me.  When you meet me in person, don't think that old husk is really me.

Of course, the old person really is us.  Because we have pain that slows us down, because we are tired and maybe grumpy, because age cripples not only the body, but also the mind and heart.  The dancing self is there, the child self is there, but the old and dying self grows stronger and stronger while the child self grows smaller and smaller, weaker and weaker.

I don't sing as often, as long.  I rarely dance.  I rarely swim or play.  And I am not spontaneously happy any more.  I've gotten old and I don't know how to change that.  Maybe I'm depressed.  Maybe I'm exhausted from insomnia. Maybe the world is weighing heavy on me and I don't know what to do about it.

Mary Stebbins Taitt

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A Case Against the 100%-E-Prime Poem

A Case Against the 100%-E-Prime Poem

Betsy Sholl told us, and I probably could find the notes and maybe
the exact quote, if I hunted for them, that 100% E-prime does not make
good poetry. It loses too much of the natural rhythm of speech, the
natural rise and fall of energy levels. Only in a very few poems, she
suggested, should the energy levels be sustained at a total fever
pitch. We were talking about verbs, gerunds, state of being verbs and
the passive voice. She agreed that state of being verbs do not carry
the power of some very active and powerful verbs. She agreed that one
should always use the best verb possible—and the best word.
But writing in E-prime is like doing scales. It's a mental
discipline. One practices E-prime to learn and to inform the mind.
But then, one relaxes a little reads the piece aloud, and adds back
some appropriate gerunds and a few state of being verbs. The longer
the poem, the more important it is to lull for a moment before
plunging back into power.
While E-prime helps avoid confusion and often enhances clarity of
meaning, it also caused the writer to have fewer options for sentence
arrangement and therefore less variety and less interest. For
example, if "the pancakes were good" always becomes "I enjoyed the
pancakes," the repetitive sentence structure can become rather
tedious. (In my mind). The exercise is informative and useful, but
just that—an exercise.
If one translates really great, famous poetry into E-prime, it sounds
utterly wretched (and terrible).

I do realize that most you probably already know all this and are
aware of active, powerful verbs and passive voice.
I wrote a new poem in E-prime, and I revised an old poem into E-prime.
Keith likes the original un-E-prime-revised version best. That is so
often the case when I revise poems. People prefer the original. I
like SOME aspects of the old and some of the new, but I will hand in
the E-prime version for feedback. I'm still working on the new poem.
I wrote the first draft yesterday, exactly 20 lines of E-prime (I
think it's 100% E-prime.) But I didn't like it as it was for a
variety of reasons, and in the process of revising; it has gotten a
little longer (21 lines at the moment). But there are still 5 more
days to revise, so we'll see.
The poem I revised to E-prime is short. Or was short (it's still
pretty short). I think short poems can better stand E-prime than long
ones, as Betsy suggested. And the subject is active. I was inspired
to revise a poem on this topic (sex) after all the hilarity about it
at the Springfed Rereat.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Gathering Eggs (How Geraldine Remembers Ricky) [Quiet]

yet another draft

Gathering Eggs (How Geraldine Remembers Ricky) [Quiet]



Geraldine wears sandals so she can count

on all her fingers and all her toes.  Twenty hens mean twenty eggs. 

Some to eat, enough to sell.  It's hard to count that high

and remember from one egg to the next.  She starts over

again each time.  One, she says, two, three, touching the fingers

of the free hand to the fingers of the hand holding the basket.  One hand

is right and one is left.  She knows the left one is left behind

when she catches a ball, but when one hand holds the egg basket, she can't

remember which can catch.  She could toss an egg like a ball.  An egg,

so like a ball but stretched a little, or squashed, and breakable. 

Geraldine remembers dropping eggs:  the broken

shells, the pool of water thick, the round yellow eye staring,

staring inside. 


Too many times, her mother yelled, got red.  No,

throwing and catching eggs is not a good idea.

She gathers the ones in the nest boxes first, the ones she can see. 

Eleven of them, ten fingers and one toe.  She finds five more

behind the door.  A whole foot's worth.  One between the hay bales. 

One under Peg-leg's favorite bush.  One in the cat's dish—that

would be Penny's.  And Bobo, Bobo dances in her nest box,

clucking and singing.  Geraldine laughs out loud.  Bobo looks up,

as if to say, "nothing funny here."  Geraldine bends, and clucking softly

to the chicken, slides her hand under its hot belly to retrieve the egg.

Ah, here it is, the last egg.  Hot under the hot belly, round and smooth

and hot.  Hotter even than her own armpits where she warms her hands

in snowfall.


Geraldine slides the egg out, cradles it between her breasts.  She sits

on a hay bale, basket beside her, and touches the hot egg.  The shape

feels good.  Smooth, round, and hot.  Sun dances though the coop

window, golden, visible in slanting columns against the shadowed

walls of the henhouse.  She caresses the egg.  Smells the hay, the sun,

and the chicken dropping.  Watches Bobo stop for a snack of corn

and a drink and join the other chickens in the yard.

Geraldine strokes her egg gently, rubs it on her cheek,

and watches the chickens peck grass, dirt and insects.

The egg will soon join the others in the basket, but now,

it feels a little like happiness, a little like love.



Mary Stebbins Taitt



-----The line above, and everything below it, is not part of this poem----

081010-1605-2, 081007-1347-1b, for Dawn's assignment, Quiet, due Monday October 13, 2008

Thursday, October 09, 2008

U.P. Journal; July 2008

U.P. Journal; July 2008


July 7:  Mary shopped and packed in preparation for the trip, and called ML about bird care.  Keith and Mary took the African violets to Kim so they can be kept properly watered during our absence.

July 8:  More frantic shopping and packing, and last-minute watering of house plants and garden.  We left for Whitehall after lunch and arrived 3 hours later—made very good time!  We registered at the Maple Tree Motel.  Lynn wasn't there—she's taken a break because she was having nightmares about cleaning.  Her sister-in-law was there instead.  We took Graham (at his choice) to McDonald's and left him and his takeout at the motel with the TV.  We drove out in search of a local restaurant listed in the motel guide book that sounded likely, but couldn't find it.  Probably it had gone out of business, but the directory had never been changed.  Finally, we just stopped at a restaurant next to the marina, hoping for the best.  As it turned out, the food was excellent.  Mary had an appetizer portion of jambalaya to start, followed by pork with cherry chutney.  Keith had escargot, then walleye with rice and stirfry vegetables, with the house pinot grigio.  We both had nice little salads with raspberry vinaigrette, and rolls with seasoned oil to dip.  The restaurant is called Crosswinds, and is right at the foot of Sophia Street, one block from the Maple Tree Inn where we were staying.  We sat on the deck, and watched the swans.  A mother with two cygnets emerged from behind (inside) the dock, and the father faced off another male swan who kept spinning in circles—very entertaining!  Mary worked on a painting of a chimpanzee with tulips in her Moleskine—Ian Russell's moleskine, actually. 

We walked up the road to the site of the old tannery, which was being demolished when we visited last year.  Now it is going to be condominiums and a marina.  We climbed a rubble pile, took a few pictures, and returned to the motel area.  There we discovered a garden with a switchback walkway, and two metal sculptures that looked like origami cranes.  Then all three of us walked to Pekadyl's ice cream shop and sat to eat it in the back garden—K & G on the swing.  Mary had raspberry sorbet.

July 9:  Keith and Mary delivered Graham to Blue Lake at 8:30 AM!  (Everyone was nervous about getting there on time.)  We signed papers, said goodbye, and went off to play – Graham watching eagerly for the arrival of his friends as Mary and Keith drove drove off to their own entertainment. 

Mary and Keith went to the Lighthouse and beach at Silver Lake and then walked on the Silver Lake Dunes!  We were impressed by the very tall brick lighthouse—and climbed to the top of it and took lots of pictures.  We also loved the large barren dunes.  Although part of the dune area was open to ATVs, the area where we walked was free of them.  The sand was harder than most beach dunes, so the walking was easier and we wandered around taking lots of pictures.  It was so wonderfully open and spacious.  After a while, though, Mary freaked out and wanted to leave because she was afraid she was getting sunburned and we had a tiny misadventure of getting caught in an area we couldn't get out of (fenced) and had to back-track a quarter mile to get out to the car. 

We ate at Crosswinds again, Mary had the Walleye and Keith had perch, both were excellent.  Mary drew a picture of the swans we'd seen the night before in pencil in her "backyard sketchbook."  We went back to the garden with the switchbacks and Keith and Mary played with the metal origami swans, making a squeaky-gate noise that resembled whale song.  Mary made a video clip of Keith playing to record the sound. 

July 10:  We left Whitehall around 10 AM (early for us!).  In Manistee, we visited the SS City of Milwaukee, a railroad car ferry that has been made into a museum.  We took the tour, starting below decks with a small group.  Keith loved the engine room—two three-cylinder triple expansion engines of 1400 horsepower each, four Scotch boilers (which we didn't get to see) that had been converted from coal-fired to #6 fuel oil.  We duly admired the condenser, the switchboard, and the turbine electrical generators.  When we returned to the main deck, the rest of the group, who had started separately, finished their tour, and left Keith and Mary alone with our guide, who had once been a deckhand on the ship.  We saw the after pilot house, crew's quarters, passenger staterooms, galley, main lounge, officer's quarters, and forward pilot house.  It was an interesting tour, but delayed us more than we had anticipated.  We made sandwiches, and ate them in the car before proceeding.

Both of us were rather pink (read sunburned!) from the dunes!

We stopped at a supermarket in Grayling, and bought three days' worth of food and ice for the cooler, and continued on to Hartwick Pines State Park.  We couldn't get the campsite we preferred (#28) for both days, so we reserved #15 for the second day.  After setting up and having dinner, we walked into the stump fields trail area—after dark.  It had rained some on the way up and things were a little wet, but we got the camp set up OK.  It was our maiden voyage in the new Sierra Designs Bedouin 4 tent that we purchased to replace the tent (Mary's old one purchased at LL Bean on a visit to Maine) whose zipper broke at the Pinery over Memorial Day.  Went to bed very late!

July 11:  We got up late because we'd gone to bed late.  After breakfast, we walked the Bright and Glory Trail to Bright and Glory Lakes—loved the name of the trail.  Found pyrola (shinleaf), and a fly agaric (Amanita muscaria).  There was no one at the first lake when we arrived.  It was a small kettle lake, and sort of Adirondacky, minus the mountains.  The second lake had fisherpeople on the docks.  They were casting right over the walkway. So we left.  After lunch, we walked the Old Growth Trail among the old growth Pines and hemlocks.  After dinner, Mary worked on the Red Barn painting in Ian Russell's Moleskine.

July 12, 2008, We departed from Hartwick Pines State Park and Campground at 9:30 AM, which may have been a record for us.  We'd had to bundle everything up in the rain (which waited until we emerged from the tent to begin), and our gear was heaved into the car in considerable disarray.  It's hard to find the patience to pack carefully when you're getting wet.  We stopped for groceries in Mackinac City, refueled (300 miles on 13 gallons—pretty good for the old Blue Freighter), and crossed the Straits in clear weather.  In St. Ignace, we took Highway 2 west, looking for a campground in which Mary had stayed in 2001.  We found it, about 24 miles west of the bridge, and picked a campsite on a dune above Lake Michigan.  There is no clear view of the water (except through the trees), but a stiff onshore wind helps to confuse the hordes of hungry mosquitoes.  Kathy (the camp host) says she's never seen the mosquitoes so bad as they are this year.  They were bad at Hartwick Pines, too.

            We hung our dripping tent, fly, ground cloth, and jacket out to dry on a rope that we had found abandoned at Hartwick Pines, and made lunch.  By that time, the tent and ground cloth were dry and we set up the tent and spread the fly in the only available patch of sunlight.  After we'd eaten, we put the fly on but left it rolled up to allow the constant wind to blow through the tent and dry the damp sleeping bags, pillows and gear.  Then we took a 45-minute walk along the shore of Lake Michigan where we saw tansy, sedum (?) (little star shaped yellow flowers on the beach), lots of white caps, and a blue crab claw.  Mary had just been reminding Keith about the blue crab claw she found on a nearby beach on the day they met, so of course, we photographed it.

            When we returned from our walk, we drove up to a Pasty joint for firewood and postcards and also got a pasty (which Mary ate—it was mostly potatoes).  We returned to the campsite and made dinner.  Mary started the journal.  Then we ate most of the beef tenderloin (Mary's piece wasn't tender!) and drove back to the pasty place for homemade apple pie—we had to get it take out as they'd already put up their "closed" sign. 

            Keith worked on the journal while Mary continued to paint her barn picture in Ian Russell's Moleskine. 

            July 13, 2008, Sunday.  Keith got up and ran the car to make up for the power drained by the CPAP overnight.  Since it was Sunday morning, Keith made bacon and eggs for breakfast—and for himself, fried toast.  For Mary, bran with Blueberries.  Mary had a sponge bath, and battened the tent hatches.  Kathy came by--she's the host lady—and she and we had a long talk while Mary washed the dishes and did some hand laundry. 

Then we drove north on 123 to Trout Lake where we mailed all the postcards we'd been writing since we mailed the last batch.  Then we drove up to a small part of Tahquamenon State Park that borders Lake Superior and had lunch.  From the cooler in the trunk (Keith carried all the stuff to the table), we ate deli meat and bread and chips and beer for Keith and water for Mary and bran for Mary and watched the gulls on the shore of the Lake.  The lake and sky were pewter grey and shades of dull blue and grey, very pretty.  We continued on to Paradise and then to the Upper Falls of Tahquamenon Falls.  We reminisced about the circumstances that led to our meeting six years ago at Tahquamenon.  Mary first noticed Keith in the parking lot as she got out of the car, Keith first noticed Mary with a group of Japanese tourists.  Both were stopping at the same overlooks to take pictures and noticed each other.  Keith first spoke to Mary at the main viewing area, "Nice weather we're having, huh?"  Mary first spoke to Keith at that point, saying, "Would you mind taking my picture?"  And Keith said, "Would you return the favor?"  It was raining that day six years ago.  It rained today, too, only briefly.  But all day it looked like it would rain, and rain some more.  And all day as we walked around, we reminisced about our meeting.  "Remember how you said you liked thistles?"  "Remember how you showed me liverworts?"  "Remember how Graham counted all the steps?"  (There are a lot of steps going down into the gorge.)  We hugged and kissed a lot remembering how we met, and sat and held hands at each of the spots where we did anything to memorable. 

There was a couple from Bay City that we met and kept running into over and over at the upper falls.

            We ate dinner at the Falls Restaurant.  We had local Michigan Salmon.  Mary had a piece of "Fruit of the Forest pie"—which was apple, rhubarb and berries—and very good.  Keith was gakked for some reason, and to take away part of his dinner in a plastic box--most unusual.  Mary bought postcards and we went down to the lower falls and walked there.  We ran into the Bay City coupl at the restaurant and again at the Lower Falls.  At the Lower Falls, Mary kept testing Keith about the flowers, ferns and trees we'd seen earlier.  Keith did a great job remembering.  We saw:  pyrola (shinleaf), bracken ferns, cinnamon ferns, royal ferns, lady ferns, NY ferns, oak ferns, balsam, hemlock, white pine, mountain maple, sugar maple, ox-eye daisy, alder, orange hawkweed, thistles (unknown variety), lesser enchanter's nightshade, and many many other plants.  We also saw and attempted to photograph a redstart.  Saw downy woodpeckers.

On the way back to Trout Lake, Mary wrote three postcards and we put them in the mailbox at Trout Lake.  Then it began to rain again.  Mary worked on the Journal in the car while Keith was driving us back to camp.

            It was cool and windy today, so we both wore long pants and long-sleeved shirts all day long, quite a contrast to the heat and humidity of the earlier part of the trip.

            We stopped along Lake Michigan to view an astounding sunset below the black clouds over the lake—thin strips of rich dark saturated red with bumps.  The road runs right along the lake so we watched it, too, as we drove.  When we got back, we discovered that the blue corn chips we'd left out for the chipmunk were all soggy.


July 14, 2008, Monday.  We are driving west on rte 2 at 1:51 PM.  We've just left Manistique, where we stopped for a picnic lunch along the side of the lake.  We got up this morning at the Lake Michigan campground.  Everything was damp from the overnight rain.  It was grey when we rose, but not raining.  The soggy blue corn chips we left out yesterday were gone, so we put out some fresh cheerios.  Our chipmunk came to feed on them and stuff his or her cheeks, so we took some pictures.  We had breakfast (dry cereal and graham crackers, bran) and broke camp, performing the normal division of tasks with Mary packing up most of the things inside tent, Keith doing the air mattress, and working together to take down the tent.  We did not see Kathy to say goodbye to her.

We headed out on rte 2 around 11 or little before.  We stopped at a tiny IGA hoping to get a few things we needed.  We got ice for the cooler and ham for Mary's lunch (she wanted turkey but there wasn't any), but were unable to buy bread, vegetables etc.  We stopped to mail Ian Russell's Mole to Jessie Hirsh, and then stopped at a roadside park to have our lunch.  Mary (and Keith) fed the gulls even though there was a sign that said not to—bad us.  Keith had boxed leftovers from last night's meal--salmon, baked potato, and vegetables.  It was cloudy and cool—long sleeves and pants—and a bit rainy (light mist, drizzle) all morning, but it has now (2:06 PM) cleared partly up and is partly sunny and warmer.  Not hot.  We're in our T-shirts.

We were getting a kick out of several signs along the highway that said, "Rustic cabbins."   With two b's.  The spellchecker automatically fixed it and Mary had to go back and make it say cabbins again.  Keith is driving and Mary is catching up the journal.

2:18 PM We are stopped for gas in Rapid River.  There is a logistical problem point here and we are trying to navigate—so far unsuccessfully.  We have to find a road that is not labeled in any way on the map—DUH!  Keith is filling the car while Mary studies the maps!  Finally, in the book of topo maps, Mary finds that that road is 186.  We still managed to miss the turn in spite of Mary telling Keith about the "big bend"—there was NO sign on the road at all!  And since at the point, 2 becomes a divided road, we had to drive a few miles in the wrong direction.  Keith said a lot of bad words.  2:27PM We are finally on the right road again.  It's a narrow green tunnel road taking us away from the coastline.  Mary will miss the views of the lake.

3:17 PM We are on 35 north toward Ishpeming.  Keith has been driving and Mary just reviewed and revised the entire journal.  This road is narrow and twisty and slow.  A green tunnel.  Not much to see.  It's sort of Appalachia-style shanties and trailers, though we passed through Gwinn, which was a little fancier.  It even had a boulevard!  Newly created and in the process of being landscaped.

4:49 PM Our interminable journey continues.  We stopped in Ishpeming at another (bigger) IGA for veggies, bread and beer and are now headed north on 41.  Keith is struggling with slow moving campers and narrow windy roads and Mary is downloading pictures from the earlier part of the trip.  We passed some "mountains" (rocky hills) that were impressive looking after the green sightless tunnels of forest.  Bogs.  Marshes. Mines (it's Iron Country). Lots of white pines and balsam.  Along the highway, ox-eye daisy, common St. Johns wort, cat tails, bracken fern.  Aspens and a few yellow and paper birches.  Sugar maple.  The area is dotted with lakes and ponds, a welcome relief from the earlier ubiquitous green tunnel.  OK, back to downloading pix.  2 cameras done, two to go.

5:30 PM Mary has now downloaded all the pictures from all four cameras and cleaned all the cards (except Keith's—he cleaned his own).  So the cameras are all ready to go again.  That last card Mary downloaded, off Thyraia (pronounced thur-AY-uh), the 30D, had 878 pictures on it!  They went all the way back to the NY trip and included Rachel's birthday, a trip to Pier Park and all of the UP trip so far!  It's an 8 gig card! 

Meanwhile, we are passing Sturgeon Falls.  Keith drove us through L'Anse and Baraga and we are now on 38 W headed for Ontonagan.  And from Ontonagan to the Porcupine Wilderness State Park, hopefully.  AK!  (I'm getting a little tired of riding).  We are passing some farms with wheat and oats.  Alfalfa.  Barns, churches, graveyards.  A few houses.  Pike Lake.  Brewster's Oasis store.  Earlier, we passed huge lumber and logging yards.  Several of them.  And now, back into the green tunnel.  Along the roadside:  sugar maple, aspen, a few white birches (paper birch?), white pine, a few hemlocks and balsams, and not much else.  The woods here has changed to mostly hardwoods, dunno if that will last.  Very few visible flowers of any description.  OH!  A field of yellow poppies!  Prolly planted.  And some bottles of pop along the roadside, tossed out of a car, prolly, first trash I've seen in a long time.

We followed Route 107 into the park, to the first campground we saw, and asked about available campsites.  Since this is our first visit, we didn't know the best place to stay, or even if there would be any open campsites.  The ranger recommended a "rustic" spot at the west end of the park as the most suitable for tent camping and the kind of atmosphere we were looking for.  So, we got back into the car, and drove to the end of the South Boundary Road--27 miles!--to the Presque Isle campground.  After we registered for two days, got the tent set up, and made dinner (pork chops and curried vegetables), it was dark.  We walked down the stairway to the "beach" on Lake Superior where we saw lightning on the horizon and fireflies on the beach.  We walked until we could walk no more because we ran into the Presque Isle River.  We know there were falls and a gorge up there and it was pitch black dark in the woods and we had no flashlights with us, so we did not venture up the gorge but headed back to camp and went to bed – late—after midnight.  The very impressive lightning we sat and watched on the beach arrived at the campground just after we went to bed along with wind and rain.  It kept us awake.  Even after it passed, we slept poorly.

July 15, 2008, Tuesday.  We got up late because we went to bed late last night, ate dry cereal and had bran and coffee and set out for The Presque Isle River and the three waterfalls running up from the river.  The three falls were named Manibezho, Manido, and Nawadaha, but there were also many rapids and cascades.  The falls all have Native American names.  Manibezdo, the largest, is the local name for the Great Spirit, or God. 

We went to the middle falls first, because that was where the trail from the picnic area delivered us.  We climbed over the fence and wandered around on the rocks taking pictures of the falls, the potholes, and each other.  Then we walked along the boardwalk and down stairs and along a tiny trail that hugged a long steep embankment, halfway up the cliffs above the Presque Isle River.  Because of the rain last night, some parts of the one foot-width wide trail were muddy and slippery and scary.  It was not the real trail. 

We passed a large group of enthusiastic hikers all with walking sticks and day packs who greeted us cheerily and encouraged us to take the trail on the far side of the river which we'd been considering.  After exchanging words with them, we continued on to the upper falls where we climbed down to the rocks after asking the couple we'd seen in the parking lot and learning that the bridge was only about a quarter mile upstream.  We sat and relaxed and talked and took pictures and kissed and held hands and soaked in the lovely peaceful scenery and sound of falling water.  AH! 

Then we continued on to the bridge, and river, enjoying the river and the plants.  We crossed the bridge and headed down the other side, stopping to take pictures in several places, and to climbed down to the rocks.  Back at the middle falls, but on the opposite side of the river, we climbed down, took off our shoes and socks, pushed up our jeans, and sat with our feet in the bubbling water below the falls for a long time, watching the people on the other side frolicking, wading, swimming, exploring, taking pictures.

Mary was pleased and excited because the wound on her foot which had been slowly healing toward the center had finally scabbed over enough that she could put her foot in the water.  Before that, it had been open and raw.  It still hurts inside the foot, and the wound isn't entirely healed, but it is finally scabbed over!  YAY!

Then we continued on down to the lower falls, walked out to the island, explored the island and lower falls, crossed the suspension bridge, and headed back up the river to the car via many steps.  By this time it was after 5 and we had a very late lunch.  We were starved.  We discovered that we have a very small chipmunk and we fed it corn chips and bran and took a few crappy pictures.

Then we drove seventeen miles south to Wakefield for gas, ice and supplies, got ground round, porterhouse steaks, mushrooms, paper towels and other stuff we needed—and peanuts for the chipmunk.  Mary was writing in the journal and discovered that she had a internet signal so she fired off an email—she was losing signal and lost one of the messages and another was sent incomplete.  Then the connection was gone entirely, as if it had never been there.

When we returned to camp, Keith split wood for the fire for dinner while Mary looked up the names of the three falls we had walked to, and struggled with a Geraldine poem (So far quite unsuccessfully.)  The chipmunk had not eaten the waffles we left for it.  But it had carried away all the bran and blue corn chips and was nowhere in sight when we put out the peanuts.  They seem to go to bed early and get up early.

Things we like about this site:  there are mosquitoes for sure, but there are far fewer of them than there were at any of the other campgrounds we've stayed at on this trip.  It is very quiet and peaceful here.  There are no airplanes flying over, or trucks on a highway, or motorcycles or dune buggies or any other motorized sounds except the cars coming in and out, and since it is a small area, there aren't that many of those.  So far, people are quiet at night and quiet in the morning, and quiet most of the rest of the time as well, other than wood chopping and splitting and quiet conversation—no loud radios or stereos or boom boxes etc.  No motorized boats on the lake either (though the thunder last night was VERY loud!)  [A man just came and borrowed our power inverter to inflate his air mattress.  He had asked to borrow our generator, but we told him that this area is posted "no generators".]  The woods around the campsite are open and inviting; this is an old growth area.  The scenery is wonderful along the river.

Things we do not like include:  the sites are fairly close together and not very private, we have neighbors on both sides and they are so close we can see and hear everything they do.  Also, it is a remote area, 26 miles via South Boundary Road from route 107, and 17 miles from Wakefield.  This is part of what gives it its charm but it makes supply runs tedious (and expensive).  All things considered, our opinion is definitely positive, so we registered for two more nights.

July 16, 2008, Wednesday.  Keith made bacon and eggs for breakfast and we had cherry juice to go with it.  Mary painted a picture of the open old-growth forest behind the campsite in her practice mole while Keith was having coffee and doing chores around the campsite.  Then we made sandwiches and headed out for Mirror Lake.  We drove along the South Boundary Road about 13 miles to the South Mirror Lake Trailhead.  We geared up with the Pooh bag full of sandwiches, water bottles, etc and all our camera gear and headed out.  We were immediately assailed by bugs:  mosquitoes, deer flies, horse flies, stable flies and no-see-ums.  The mosquitoes were the most numerous,  pestiferous and persistent, but the others got their licks and bites in, too.  Mary was wearing shorts and a tank top with a thin short covering, and Keen sandals.  Keith was wearing long pants and high boots.  The bugs were driving us frantic and got worse and worse.  We hiked to the Summit Peak overlook (all uphill, difficult, slow, and exhausting, and continually flailing at the bugs).  There was a faint breeze at the top of the tower which gave us some relief as we ate our sandwiches.  We headed out again for Mirror Lake, and the bugs just got thicker.  We trekked as fast as we could, which on the hills wasn't very fast.  Mary was frantic by the time we got there.  We hiked a tenth of a mile or so along Mirror Lake looking for a resting spot and view.  Mary sat and ate her bran while Keith paced up and down to minimize the mosquito bites.  Then we headed back down Little Carp River Trail.  The trail guide said this was "one of the most scenic trails in the park", but it was a green tunnel for the most part, and filled with zillions of starving mosquitoes and other biting insects.  There were two overlooks of a tiny stream, but we didn't stop, just glanced as we hastened past, windmilling constantly.  It was 1.5 miles to Little Beaver Creek Trail, which turned out to be somewhat more interesting because there were two marsh crossings on narrow boardwalks and at those points, the mosquitoes were a little diminished, though not absent.  And they were somewhat scenic, reminiscent of South Meadow.  Then we had another pretty overview of the same beaver meadow from a higher vantage.

Then the rest of the mile back to the car—phew.  It was 2.5 miles each way, but they were LONG miles, 5 mile round trip, and we did it in 2.5 hours.  Which for Mary was fast, but for Keith, was slow.  Keith was horribly bit up.  Mary was exhausted because she kept up a pace, which, while slow, was fast for her weight and fibro and injured foot.  The foot was throbbing with pain and she lay in the tent moaning for a while, while Keith split firewood for dinner.  Mary gave the trek a desirability score of minus 2.5.  She'd have scored it even lower if it weren't for the few vistas and pretty crossings.

Dinner was hamburgers and stirfy.  It tasted VERY good, Mary gave it an 8.7 score.  But when our own food was gone, dinner wasn't over yet.  Our neighbors had caught lots of big lake trout, and asked Keith to take pictures while they posed with the catch, and then gave us a nice piece to share—it was EXCELLENT!  Yum yum!  So good dinner all the way around, the high point of the day.

July 17, 2008, Thursday.  It rained hard off and on all night.  Lots of lightning and loud thunder.  Once again, the new tent did not leak and stayed dry inside.  Everything outside was soaked.  Mary discovered that her back had blistered from the sunburn sustained on the dunes.  We had dry cereal, bran and coffee for breakfast and gave the chipmunks some peanuts, battened the hatches and set out for Lake of the Clouds.  It's a thirty five mile drive around from Presque Isle to Lake of the Clouds, though they'd be much closer by air.  On the way, we stopped at the "Outpost" and got ice and postcards.

When we got to the Lake of the Clouds parking area, it was noon and we decided to eat lunch before we headed out on the trail.  Mary was out of turkey so Keith shared his salami and we finished off all the bread and salami in one and a quarter sandwiches each.  Mary had bran and Keith beer and we packed up and headed out.  It was only a short distance up to the first overlook.  There were a number of people there enjoying the spectacular view.  We joined them, chatted some, took pictures, and then went down to another nearby overlook.  After a few more pictures and a little more chatting, we started along the escarpment trail that hugs the edge of the cliffs above Lake of the Clouds.  Unlike yesterday, there were very few biting insects.  We were very pleased.  We loved the views and, and the fact that very few other people were walking the trail.  We did run into a couple we'd seen at Tahquamenon,   They were from Southern Indiana, and sounded asif they were from Kentucky.  They both had braids; she two and he one.  They were friendly and we spoke to them several times along the trail.  We started out ahead of them, but stood aside to let them pass so we could take our time and not feel rushed.  Then we came up on them occasionally at various overlooks as they were eating their lunch or viewing the lake.  But mostly, we were alone and had the whole spectacular scene with the lake and cliffs and clouds and winding river all to ourselves.  We were in 7th heaven.  It was all too gorgeous and wonderful—so wild—the first time the Porcupine Wilderness really felt like a wilderness!  It also looked and felt a little like parts of the Colorado trail with the high cliffs, the lake, the distant mountains and the narrow winding trail.  Needless to say, we took LOTS of pictures.  At one point, we saw a bald eagle from above as he flew across the lake.  We also saw lots of wildflowers:  bluebells, wild basil, self heal, daisies, knapweed, and lots more, and many patches of blueberries and June berries, which we grazed on as we walked along.  Also saw pinesap, we'd seen other days, too, but neglected to mention.  (Yesterday we saw Depford pink).  Today in the middle of the mountains quite far from any habitation, up along the trail, we saw some kind of what looked like domestic pink—very brightly colored.

The trail offered a series of changing vistas of the lake and cliffs.  Around every turn in the trail was a new fantastic view.  The whole experience would have rated a ten, or perfect score, EXCEPT for the thunder, distant at first, and very slowly approaching, rumbling, coming closer.  We were carrying a lot of camera gear and were unprepared for a deluge!  Mary was getting nervous about it, so we started spending less and less time at each overlook.  We cut down at the halfway point of the trail, which we'd been considering doing anyway, but now we were sure we wanted to.  It was the only opportunity to get down off the escarpment for another 2 miles.  Those two miles would have been gloriously beautiful on a nice day, but . . .

So we did go down, and Mary stayed with the gear while Keith hiked 2.2 miles back to the car in 34 minutes—all uphill, the last half mile quite steep (1 in 8 grade, with short pitches of 1 in 6), passing the Indiana couple on the way up (and again on the way down with the car).  Although breathing hard by the end, Keith was feeling rather pleased with himself for not slackening his pace at all.  Meanwhile, Mary, sitting in a ditch with the gear, was surrounded by hundreds of mosquitoes.  She rolled a section of log up out of the ditch to the roadside and alternated sitting and dashing back and forth to try to escape the bugs.  She drew a picture of a large umbelliferae that she guesses was cow parsnip in her pocket journal to look up later.  She was very glad to see Keith!!!  Meanwhile, the cloud of Lake of the Clouds totally descended on us in the form of fog and mist.

We then stopped at the visitor center for the first time—and the minute we got inside it started pouring—POURING—and thundering and lightninging—we were extremely glad to have made if off the escarpment and into shelter before that happened!!!

We viewed exhibits on bears, porcupines, fishers, wolves and other animals with stuffed specimens and interactive portions and also exhibits of area history with nice old photos.  Mary stopped viewing to search for ticks because she kept imagining that something was walking on her, and when she returned to viewing the interpretive specimens, a very enthusiastic naturalist lady encouraged us to go see a "movie" which was "going to start in 5 minutes."  So we went in and sat down and Mary scratched Keith's back because of all the bug bites there that he couldn't reach—he had a bad rash from so many bug bites,  10 minutes later, the show started—it was a slideshow, but one with fade in, fade out and other special effects.  It was quite nicely done and fairly interesting about the human and natural history of the Porcupine Mountains and the wolves and falcons and eagles etc.  We also watched another movie about the wolves and their capture-release study etc.  We visited the gift shop but bought nothing—Mary interrupted her viewing of the gift shop to search again for a tick, but then returned and got a honey stick.  It cost 35 cents but was very small—hardly a taste.  We didn't get any more postcards since we'd just got some.

The interpretive center closed at 6 PM and we had to leave while it was still raining.  At least the rain had let up some.  We drove back to camp in the rain and fog, but it thinned out as we got farther west, and had nearly cleared by the time we reached camp.

Keith built a nice fire with wet wood, using splinters and Coleman fuel (he'd neglected to pack charcoal starter), and cooked us some porterhouse steaks.  Mary made a stirfry with 3 slices of bacon in it for a change of pace—lots of cholesterol in that meal, but it was good.  Our neighbors gave us some of their wild rice to go with the meal--very tasty.  A satisfying meal in spite of the rain.  The rain dwindled away for a while, most of the rest of the evening, but everything was very wet.  Keith read aloud from Moby Dick, chapters 100 and 101.

Then, as it was getting dark (around 9:38), we left and walked down to the "Island" (which at this time of the year is connected to the mainland by a narrow isthmus), down all those stairs to the island, down the island to Lake Superior, over to the Presque Isle River to examine a shelter made of sticks and rocks (to dark to take pictures), and across the isthmus to the far side and back—and up all those stairs again.  Ugh!  Mary's fibro was acting up at that point and very painful so it was a bit of an ordeal going up the stairs.  Also—feet very painful!  Her injured foot has not recovered yet.  It's significantly improved but not fully healed.

Finally, we went to bed.  The rain started up again, and even though we were very tired, we could not sleep and were itchy and restless.  Finally, Mary picked a tick off her leg—probably—hopefully—the one that had been bothering her all day.  But a restless fear of more ticks and a general discomfort/insomnia kept both of us awake most of the night.  The bedding and pillows were damp from all the rain, though the tent had remained "dry" inside and did not leak.

Friday, July 18, 2008.  Mary took her synthroid at 8 AM but we didn't get moving until 9 because we were both tired.  Keith made Mary bacon and eggs but ate bacon and graham crackers himself.  It rained almost all night and everything outside was wet.  We slowly packed up, Mary packing inside the tent and Keith packing outside until it was time to do the air mattress.  We took the tent down together and Mary spread the tent, fly and ground cloth on several picnic tables to dry while Keith rearranged items in the car to make packing possible.  The sun came out!  Finally, we stuffed the still quite damp tent into its duffle (this tent has a duffle instead of a stuff sack) and departed for points unknown—we hadn't decided yet what our course of action was for the way back.

We stopped at an IGA in Ontonogan and bought rye bread with caraway seeds (which Keith doesn't like but was willing to put up with because all the other breads had soy or milk in them), beer (for Keith), turkey (for Mary), hard salami (for Keith), pork chops (for supper) [by now we'd decided at least to CAMP and not stay in a motel), broccoli, zucchini, mushrooms (guess what we're having for supper . . . ?) etc.  And a little whisk broom and dustpan set for cleaning the tent (for $1.25 at the Family Dollar next to the IGA).  We mailed the post cards from Porcupine Mts and headed out again.

Then we stopped for lunch at Twin Lakes State park picnic area—and had—guess what—turkey and salami on rye—beer for Keith and bran for Mary.  We could see the Lake from out picnic table; it was very pleasant.  We have decided to attempt to find an open campground near Pictured Rocks National Seashore—a possible problem since we have no reservations and it's Friday.  There are a number of campgrounds in the area so hopefully we'll get something—so far, we've been lucky.

So now we're all caught up again.  Keith had been driving and Mary writing in the journal ever since we left camp.  Keith will add his 12 cents worth (inflation) later.  By the time you see this, Keith prolly will have done his part, too.

We've been camping in "rustic" campgrounds that do not provide showers and have not been swimming, so we are really grubby.  The rain made it muddy and we are covered with blood spots and smashed bugs.  We plan to stay at a motel tomorrow night so we can shower and get freshened up before Graham's concert on Sunday at 1:00.  But we do not have reservations at a motel for Saturday night, so we're hoping we can find a place to stay.  We haven't been able to get cell phone signal in order to see if we got a room at the Maple Tree and she may offer it to someone else if we don't return a possible call from her.

Oh-oh—we've just discovered that we are in Houghton, up on the Keewenaw Penninsula.  We were already on the wrong road when we stopped for lunch. If we were more attentive, we should have recognized that Twin Lakes State Park was not the Courtney Lake State Park we were looking for—but Mary just thought it was another park she hadn't noticed.  Nope!  So now we've driven WAY out of our way.  We drove 40 miles up to Houghton and will have to drive 28 miles back to Baraga, and it would have been 31 miles had we gone the right way, so we drove 37 miles out of the way.  L  WAHN!  We were hoping to get there early, get a campsite, set up camp, and go see the Pictured Rocks.  Since this is not a highway, we're losing quite a bit of time.  Lots of villages, cities, campers, boats and other slow traffic.  BAH!

Now, while Keith drives us back to the correct route, Mary is going to attempt to gather everything needed to download some of our pictures from "The Porkies."  She needs:  the external hard drive because there's no room on Tabitha, the external card reader, the cameras and their cards, Keith's full card in the card case, and hopefully the portable easel to get the hot computer up off her lap!  Since we're in a area fast road, collecting everything could be an issue.

This road is pretty because it keeps offering views of Superior.  The Keewenaw Bay.  Pretty.  The sky is blue with small puff white clouds and it is a bit hazy from all the rain and the lake stretches out with little bays and peninsulas, trees.  The water is blue and green and ruffled by a breeze.  Along the road:  large white pines, maples.  Balsam spires,  Ahead of us, motorcycles.  Four or five.  Here, we drive through a red pine planation,  Tall straight red pines on both sides of the road.  Summer sun, the smell of grass and trees and hot skin.  Summer has a smell all its own.  We just passed the intersection with rte 38 and the sign for Ontonogan, so we are back on track.  Keith is exasperated because everyone is driving so slowly.  Mary it HOT and frustrated because she can't locate everything she needs to download pictures.

I never did download the pictures.  L Checking the county map book showed several state and private campgrounds near Munising, so we decided we'd look at the first promising-sounding one, and just drive on to the next if that one was filled.  The first was in Christmas (guess what kinds of billboards and signs this town has!), the Bay Furnace State Park.  All the campsites in the first section (the ones near the water) were filled, and we were beginning to get discouraged, but the other part (where the RVs were parked) had some vacancies, so we chose one and registered. Then we drove directly into Munising, where the scenic boat tours of the Pictured Rocks are located, and we got there at 6:19 but luckily, the last boat tour was leaving at 6:30.  We dashed around got tickets and cameras and jumped on the boat.  We brought long-sleeved shirts, considered taking jackets, and decided against them.  We got one of the few remaining seats on the top deck, next to two other people on the left side away from the cliffs.  Then we sat and sat and sat.  The boat was late leaving, and when we pulled out into the cold fog,  everyone immediately tossed on clothes and blankets.  We'd only gone a short ways when we turned back.  12 more people had been "held up in traffic" and we went back and got them—another 15-minute delay.  Finally, we headed back into the cold fog and wind.  The captain announced if we had to turn back because of the fog, we'd get a full refund, and on we went, seeing very little but white surrounding the boat.  Then, coming from the fog, a light house, of old wood shingled style—we attempted to photograph it in the fog.  The captain told us stories of various things we could see if it wasn't foggy.  The fog was really thick!

Another cruise boat passed us, appearing from the fog and passing and disappearing again.  Shortly after that, the captain announced that the other captain had informed him that there was sunshine ahead for part of the trip.  Meanwhile, 2/3 of the people sitting on the top deck retreated to the inside.  We moved up to the second roaw of seats on the left and had them to ourselves.  We continued on through the fog and then suddenly broke into the sunshine.  The difference was incredible, bright, colorful and warm instead of cold, dank, dark and veiled.  We immediately began shooting lots of pictures of the rock formations and colorful cliffs.  We took way too many pictures, because around every bend was a new vista.

At one point, we pulled into a very narrow bay called Chapel Cove.  That was really exciting and a little scary!  We went way in, so that the boat was totally surrounded by the cliffs towering up on either side.  We saw the Indian Face Rock, the Miner's Castle (early, still in fog), and several other "famous" formations rising sometimes 200 feet above the water.  We also saw a white pine growing on a rock formation.  Part of the formation that had connected it to the nearby cliff had crumbled away, but the roots of the tree bridged the gap to the cliff.

Then we hit fog again.  We rode up through the fog to Spray Falls, which we could barely see in the fog.  We could see it and I was glad of that, but no way photograph it.  It was pretty and eerie in the dense fog.  At that point, the boat turned back and we rode back again, this time without the humorous narration by the captain, but when we broke out of the fog again, we did ride even closer to some of the cliffs and formations and this time, we were on the closer side of the boat.  Then one of the sailors fed the gulls and they all came streaming from their nesting ground screaming and wheeling around and there were antics to watch and pictures to attempt.  More lovely cliffs and back into the cold fog. 

Occasionally, through the fog, we could see the sun headed down.  We got colder and colder and colder.  Mary kept suggesting that we go downstairs and get some potato chips and get warm.  We had had no dinner and were freezing, but Keith sat stolid and we didn't move 'til we disembarked.  It was late twilight. Pretty dark and cold and we were freezing.

We went back to camp and had no firewood so we used the gasoline stove to make a pork stir fry for a late supper.  We still needed to walk, so after we cleaned up and set up camp, sleeping bags, etc, we walked down to Bay Furnace, an old and partly ruined iron blast furnace which has been partly restored.  It was very cool in the moonlight—a nearly (or entirely?) full moon, but we had no tripod.  We walked along the beach until it became dangerously cobbly for walking in the dark and then went back and went to bed.  At one point, we stopped and sat on a damp log on the beach and Mary attempted to write a poem for the Geraldine cycle in her little pocket notebook in the dark without using any light.  We went to bed at ONE AM, and were disturbed in the middle of the night by the dogs (three of them) howling outside the trailer at the neighboring campsite, and by humans shouting, cursing, and slamming doors in reply.  L


The Smell of Sun


A swell of water rises, curls and falls onto the sand,

tinkling like tiny bells, opening an "ah" in Geraldine's head

an internal ear horn that listens for a sound like bits of ice

dropping into a fragile glass.  She watches as another follows,

as soft and sweet as the first, and then a third.  The waves

angle against the shore in the shining darkness so that the quiet

singing of their touch passes from along the sand from right

to left.  Ricky's hand warms hers in the cooling night,

and she squeezes it, laughing aloud at the quick squeeze back. 

The full moon Al and Ellie teased about ("perfect

for your honeymoon") casts a single shadow on the sand,

echoes Geraldine's body leaning into Ricky's.  Fireflies

blink on and off along the sand, in the bushes, and out

over the water, mirroring the spread of stars.  Wisps

of mist, lit by moonlight, drift over the lake, thicken and gather

in the bays and between the hills.  Down the beach, a single boat

stands out in silhouette against the moon path.

Geraldine wiggles her toes in the sand and snuggles closer

to Ricky and says "oh" and "oh," again.  She breathes

in the smell of sun from his skin, the clean, sweet smell

of his body.  His arm, circling her shoulders, draws her

yet nearer, then tugs her to her feet.  They walk barefoot

down the beach to Aunt Luisa and Uncle Jake's Camp,

to the bed Al and Ellie have turned down for them,

to the sheets that smell of cedar and lavender,

like Aunt Luisa, like love.  After they drop their clothing

to the floor, after they pull the sheet cool to their chins,

before they turn toward each other, they watch a star fall,

blue and flickering over the water, steaming

into the ripples like misted flame.


Written 7-18-08 at Bay Furnace Campground on the shore of Lake Michigan near midnight. (much from our evening experience).


Saturday, July 19, 2008:  We got up at 7:49, prepared breakfast, broke camp, and went back to the blast furnace to see it in daylight, take some pix, read the signs and explore.  Then we went to the metal riveted lighthouse we'd seen in Munising and took pix of that and since then, we've been on the road with Keith driving and Mary catching up the journal.  But now we are stopped in a construction delay.  We have seen a lot of construction up here, and narrowed roads, lane changes etc, but this is the first time we actually had to stop, I think.  I remember a lot of this as a kid while traveling.  The road here is all crushed stone and stink.

The Bay Furnace campground is in Christmas, Michigan (and of course, there are Santas and Holiday shops etc.)  Someone made a joke about having Christmas in July, which I guess that's what we did by staying there.  The couple sitting just ahead of us on the tour boat yesterday were Harley people, and had ridden there on their bikes.  It was the woman who made that joke. 

We are still driving very slowly along the crushed stone road—at least we're moving now.  Ah, the end of the stench! 

Our plan is to drive "downstate" from the U.P. to the L.P. and stay near Whitehall somewhere.  We have not been able to get signal on the cell phones to determine if there's an opening at the Maple Tree Motel—we were first on the waiting list—they may give away the room to someone else if there is one and we don't return a call.  But we have to either get a motel and shower etc or camp again and show up grubby!  Mary is a little nervous not knowing where we'll sleep tonight.

We stopped for lunch at Little Hog Island Campground and sat at a picnic table in a campsite by the lake eating our sandwiches.  It was a quick lunch and we headed out again. 

We crossed the Mackinac Bridge and are on the Lower Peninsula now, headed south on I-75.  It feels really good to be able to go at a faster rate of speed than we were ever able to travel on the U.P., where all the campers and boat trailers and old people dawdled along and you couldn't get by them.  We got gas at the Petoskey / Rogers City exit and hopped back on.  Mary got the extension cord from the CPAP (much to Keith's disgust--he had to unpack and repack a bunch of stuff) so she could use the computer and charge camera batteries both at once.  The once clear sky has all but entirely clouded up, but the sun is still shining on Mary who also got the wooden table easel from the back seat to raise the hot computer up off her lap.

We are streaking south at 80 mph, after only being able to drive 40-55 much of the time on the U.P.  Mary looked at herself in the mirror and saw a woman who looked very tanned and somewhat pink and not like the woman who left Detroit over a week ago for the U.P.

It began to rain before we turned onto 127 S south of Grayling and it rained harder and harder and harder.  The visibility is terrible and Mary is frightened.  Mary hates driving or being driven when the visibility is bad.  A group of motorcyclists are pulled up under a bridge.  It has rained almost every day of our entire vacation, but mostly, we have been lucky not be out in it—it has rained at night or while we were in a building or in the car and if we were out in it, it was relatively light and brief.  The rain stopped and we breathed a sigh of relief, and then it started again.  Rained hard but briefly, stopped again.  Now it is sprinkling.  We're passing the Marion 176 exit off 127.  Earlier, we passed the Mio exit and I thought of Sara.

            Time point: 5:00 PM: We're still driving, on 10 West toward Ludington.  We're back on a two-lane, much to Keith's disgust.  (He's "exgusted" with the slow moving idiots).  We just drove by a cell-phone tower and had a full complement of signal bars but apparently no message from The Maple Tree Inn.  So we will have to apparently find alternate lodging.  We've just entered Baldwin (which is on rte 10 east of Ludington.)  Here in Baldwin, we have to go North (out of our way) to continue east.  On the way North, we see a pretty bad accident.  Eek, scary!!!!  L Badly crumpled cars, police, ambulances, someone (a woman) in the front of the rear one looking very bad.  (or dead?)  Makes Mary scared.  And now it is raining again.  Someone could run into us and it might not be our fault or being human, we could make an error in judgment! 

            Mary has been downloading pix while Keith drives and has downloaded all three of her cameras into Bela, one of Tabitha's external hard drives.  (Pasada stayed home this time.)(Pasada went with us to Slovenia—she is smaller and easier to pack and carry and doesn't have two USB cables.)  And cleaned the cards to receive new pix.

            We decided that since we hadn't heard from the Maple Tree and since Saturday night is a hard night to get rooms, we'd better start looking early.  We got off the highway (rte 31) at Hart and stopped at a Comfort Inn—first we called Maple Tree—to be sure.  The Comfort Inn had no rooms, it was huge but all booked up.  They sent us to the Hart Motel.  He had lots of rooms.  It was a very strange place.  Lots of lovely flowers!  An enthusiastic Inn-keeper.  He showed us 4 or 5 rooms, each different, some with Jacuzzis etc until we mentioned we'd prefer a room with a real stove, and presto, we got the ♥ (Hart) version of the Garage Mahal.  It was a suite with a real stove.  And kitchen, sink, microwave, bread-maker etc.  A sort of strange place that seemed to be furnished entirely with garage sale items, though Mary really liked a couple of the water colors (boats and flowers) and some of the old (antiquey) ad artwork.  We took a few pix of the outside (because it looked a little "continental" with the flowers and little alleyways) but none of the inside.  There were smelly "pewfrum" cookers plugged into the wall making a horrid stink, and Mary unplugged them and put them into ziplock bags.

            Then we walked across the street to the IGA to shop for dinner.  We got large shrimps (after much dithering and looking for fresh fish etc) and Mary went back to the Garage Mahal II to start making shrimp stirfry while Keith went on a beer expedition.  We used up the last of the mushrooms, zucchini, and some of the broccoli and cabbage from our camping food. 

            Then we went out looking for a place to walk.  Mary had seen a lake on the map, and we went looking for it, and on the way, found a "Historical Area" with some interesting buildings. There was a one-room schoolhouse being restored, a lovely old yellow brick church, an abandoned refrigerated warehouse, and other cool buildings.  It was getting dark, but we took pictures anyway, and wandered around until Mary had had too many mosquito bites, and was getting impatient to have her walk.

            So we drove on and found a park by the lake.  By then it was deep twilight.  We walked on a trail around the lake to a highway bridge, then back through the campground to the car—taking a few pictures but not nearly as many as we'd have liked because it had gotten almost completely dark.  The trail was steep in places, muddy in places, wet in places, smelly in places, but also quite pretty in places. 

We returned to Garage Mahal II.  We called it that, because the suite had been built in what had clearly been a garage, and still had a garage door on the outside.  We had stayed at Wendy Carlisle's camp in what she'd named "The Garage Mahal", so called because it was a renovated garage made "fancy."  So our suite became Garage Mahal II. 

We took a shower together, our first shower in over a week, and it felt really good.  Then Keith gave Mary a foot rub—her feet were VERY PAINFUL, and we went to bed.  Mary lay awake.  Everything hurt—badly!  She got up and took ibuprofen, but it didn't help.  Her feet, knees, hips, shoulders, elbow all throbbed with pain.  She suspected the smelly cookers (allergy to cheap perfume).  Even though she'd bagged them, everything was permeated with the smell.  She got essentially no sleep (very very little)!  She was freezing cold with wet hair that wouldn't dry.  (One of the reasons Mary normally prefers to shower in the morning.)

July 20, 2008, Sunday:  We ate dry cereal and graham crackers in the room and Mary took another shower.  Keith repacked the car to make room for Graham.  We drove south to Blue Lake, signed Graham out, loaded his gear in the car, sent him back to hang out with his friends until the concert, took a half-hour walk down an opening through the woods where we found earth stars (star puffballs) that we photographed.  Ate lunch in hot car—sandwiches with turkey for Mary and salami for Keith.

We walked to the concert, a fifteen-minute walk.  Note to selves:  drive over next year?  We had to sit separately because the concert hall was so full.  Mary sat almost directly behind Graham, who was seated with the SATB choir in the first couple of rows.   Keith sat a few rows back.  The concert was excellent.  Mary cried in a few numbers because the music was so moving. 

After the concert, we took Graham to McDonald's—he got 30 pieces of McNuggets and 2 fries and an extra large coke.  He ate them all except 1 that Mary ate.  Mary didn't like it very well!  We left Graham at the motel.  We had been going to drive down to Duck Lake, but we were both too tired.  We walked over to get tickets at the Howlett theater, and discovered that there was only a  matinee on Sunday, and we had missed it.  So Keith read aloud two chapters of Moby Dick, and we hung out in the motel's "great room" reading magazines and attempting to catch up the journal until the staff came in to clean.  We had chosen  the lounge so that Graham could watch TV without disturbing us.  But the people who came in to clean turned the TV on in the lounge, so we made a hasty exit.

We walked down to Crosswinds for dinner. We sat again on the deck next to the water, as in the first two visits.  We had calamari and crab cakes.  Keith had whitefish, Mary fried perch.  It was our third visit to Crosswinds.  Mary did not like her perch—it was very greasy (oily).  (ICK!)  She traded 2 pieces of her perch for a piece of Keith's whitefish.  The whitefish was MUCH better.  It was our third trip to Crosswinds and the first two were better for Mary.  But the calamari was pretty good.  Mary made a sketch of the deck at Crosswinds in her mole with a ball point pen, which was all she had in her pocket.

We walked up the switchback sidewalk and took two more movies of the "singing" crane sculptures, and flower pix, and then took Graham back to McDonald's.  We checked out possible movie (Walle-E), but the start time was too late.  Then we searched for rice milk in Whitehall and Montague, but failed to find any.  Mary and Keith walked down to get ice cream and sorbet at Peckadil's and sat on the swing to eat it. We bought two post cards there, one for Neil and Laura and one for Sara and Erin and Erwin.  Graham stayed in the motel room to eat Micky Ds and watch TV.  When we returned, we read another chapter in Moby Dick, had foot greasing and bed.  Our PJs and the CPAP mask smelled like the Garage Mahal II.  Ick!  Mary worried the stench might keep her awake but she slept significantly better  J (though not perfectly.)

July 21, 2008, Monday.  Because there was nothing edible (for Mary) in the Continental breakfast and because we were unable to get rice milk to put in the dry cereal we had, we went out to breakfast at Morning Glory Café.  Keith had eggs sunny side up with hash.  Mary ordered sausage, mushroom and black olive omelette with no cheese—and got cheese.  L  (I think the same thing happened last year.  L)  Note to self—bring more rice milk, leave for home right after concert next year.

We crossed the street to an auto parts and repair shop to admire and photograph a 1927 Twin Cities tractor and 1923 Studebaker, in a parking lot opposite  from Morning Glory Café.   Keith examined the tractor, trying to figure out how the fuel induction system worked.  After a couple of minutes, the shop owner came out, and engaged Keith in conversation about the tractor, and offered to start it up and let Keith drive it around the shop building.  Mary took pictures.

Back at the motel, Mary made bran, Keith packed the car, Graham turned in the keys, and we left for home with Keith driving, Graham sleeping, Mary catching up the trip journal.  First, Mary worked on the drawing (sketch) she'd made in her mole of Crosswinds, where we ate last night.  She colored it with water color pencils.  It's no great art, but Mary is pleased with it because it catches, in her mind, the flavor of the place.

Time check at 12:40 PM, we are on I-96 passing exit 117 B at Williamston.  The sky is mostly cloudy with billowy grey and dark grey clouds, but the hot sun is shining on us continuously somehow anyway.  Our air conditioner is broken.  The heat bothers Mary and the wind noise bothers Keith.  The scene outside the window is pastoral:  corn fields and hayfields and hedgerows of ashes, elms, and black cherries (dead elms among them).  Occasional woodlots.  Now exit 122 Stockbridge.  The roadsides are full of Queen Ann's lace and blue chicory, and the goldenrod is tall and looks nearly ready to flower.  We are 73 miles from Detroit at 12:45.  Keith says we've been on the road for an hour and 54 minutes.  The highway is pretty busy and the traffic pretty bad and has been for some time, so Keith is working hard to keep us going at a good pace.  Lots of 18-wheelers and other tracks and well as cars, vans and motorcycles.  We pass some stands of sumac that are all yellow and orange—wonder if they've been sprayed—everything else is green.  Home again--travel time from Whitehall five minutes under three hours.