I sat there and forgot and forgot, until what remained was the river that went by and I who watched… Eventually the watcher joined the river, and there was only one of us. I believe it was the river.
Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It
In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous
The view last weekend from the high banks of the Au Sable River in northern Michigan. 100 years ago or more, rugged loggers rolled cut trees down the sandy “Rollways” to the river, which took them to sawmills on Lake Huron. Such work was fraught with danger and it wore men out by their mid-30s. The lumber built the burgeoning towns of the American Midwest, but vast areas of Michigan were denuded. During the 1930s Depression, a nearby plaque explains, 400 million trees were planted to reforest northern Michigan, by out-of-work young men who joined the federal “Civilian Conservation Corps.” Theirs was a dual renewal–that of the forest and of the young men’s hopes for the future.
The pines bear silent witness to the passing of summer clouds and the tranquil lake is visited by a solitary canoe.
Along the Lake Michigan coastline, the onshore breezes have been piling up mountainous sand dunes since the last Ice Age. Nature has employed her instruments of sand, wind, and time to fashion a wondrous landscape. But, even In this harsh environment, life is ever encroaching on the sands.
Every minute of life carries with it its miraculous value,
and its face of eternal youth.
Hartwick Pines state park in Michigan is justly famous for its old growth stand of trees which are several hundred years old. But, hidden among the pines are two lakes left behind when the glaciers retreated from this area 12,000 years ago. Yesterday, I happened upon one of those jewels, with the cumulus clouds that grace Michigan’s July skies mirrored in the still water.