It’s taken a while, but I’ve come to terms with the fact photography just isn’t my strong suit. But a good model can cover for a multitude of sins:
Ah, that U.P. sky — wide, clear, humidity-free. Just what the doctor ordered. Especially at sunset:
Behold the Seney National Wildlife Refuge. A CCC project. You know, government make-work welfare-state drudgery. Never created a thing of value, ever. Just look at all that nothingness. Wouldn’t a nice theme park look good there?
When it’s not swallowing 700-foot freighters, Lake Superior likes to loaf around on nice summer days, impersonating the Caribbean:
So peaceful, so pleasant. And on that particular day, not even very cold. Wide, blue, placid. And, probably 20 feet out, damn cold. But beautiful.
And that will be the end of the vacation slide show, and much of the vacation narrative. We didn’t do much. We drove over the bridge, saw some old boats and old friends in Hessel, turned west, arrived at the Green Cottage, aka John and Sam’s ancestral family estate (Sam’s, actually), opened “A Storm of Swords” and barely moved for a week. It was a week in literary disappointments. Me, that I did little else but read yet another goddamn George R.R. Martin fantasy epic, got through hundreds and hundreds of pages, in fact, and still have only 70 percent of it under my belt. And now I have to read the rest of the goddamn things, because I’m committed. I have to find out who Jon Snow’s mother was. I have to see what happens when the dragons reach Westeros. Winter is still coming, and I want to get a feeling for it. And if you tell me that after 12 million pages, all those questions are still unanswered, I need to hunt Martin down and shake that extra middle initial out of him.
As for Alan, he fished the Fox River, which you Hemingway fans know is the one in the Nick Adams stories, and yes, I know the author says it’s the Two Hearted, but it’s not. The one you walk to from the train station in Seney is the Fox. But “Two Hearted” is a far more poetic and literary name than Fox, so he switched them, and let’s let that be the end of it, shall we? Anyway, Alan fished the Fox, or one of the branches. It was about as wide as our bathtub, and no deeper. He caught some fish. They were good fish. He turned them all loose.
And it was nice being in that part of the U.P., which is new to me. I like the look of those old farms, those triumphs of hope over experience, as the growing season is short and the soil is poor. About all anyone raises is hay and beef, not even alfalfa, and I don’t know how you keep a herd growing on grass hay, but I guess they do it in the west all the time, don’t they? Sam’s family place — she’s the fourth generation to own it — used to be a pea farm. They grew seed stock for gardeners, and on maps, it’s still called the Pea Farm, even though peas haven’t been grown there in decades. There’s an orchard, and we made applesauce one day with the early-ripening specimens. Everyone up there has a few apple trees, and besides the obvious reasons to grow apples, there’s the one they didn’t teach you in the Johnny Appleseed unit in school — hard cider for long winters.
Because that’s what the U.P. specializes in. However, I’m glad we got there for a week of its very lovely summer. There was a bald eagle roosting on the point over the lakefront (Big Manistique) on Sam’s property. I assume that means we made it all the way to Real America.
So, I’m glad last week’s retreads seem to have gone over well. I was well and truly off the grid, and had difficulty reading them myself, with half-bar service and the dreaded Edge data network. But I did read all the comments, very…slowly. One…by…one. It was a lesson on what constitutes urgent communication. News was that which was covered by NPR, and little else. So I missed the Kardashian nuptials and anything else that was deemed newsworthy by bloggers and the like. Although someone sent me this, about Rick Perry, and that’s pretty amusing. Beyond that, I don’t have much, and it’s Monday. And you know what that means.
It’s good to be back with all you peeps. Let’s see what the rest of August may hold, shall we?