Saturday, July 28, 2018
Part of my Thursday morning plan hit a little snag, but I took advantage of not being able to do what I’d planned by taking time for an unscheduled saunter around the harbor in Northport. NYSS (Northport Youth Sailing School) provided a colorful photography opportunity.
But really, opportunities were all around, close at hand (or foot) and looking off across Grand Traverse Bay to the horizon. I like this memorial to Chiefs Joseph and Peter Waukazoo, early Northport settlers who came from “downstate” before it was “downstate.”
These days influences from all over the world have arrived in Northport, as evidenced by this group of locals being led in morning tai chi exercises under the gazebo. We might be in Beijing or Paris, and people would be performing the same movements.
While some in Northport exercise, however, others relax on their boats or on the dock, enjoying sunshine and breeze.
Whether you arrive and depart by land or by water, you will be charmed by the beauty and variety of the harbor scenes. My half-hour’s strolling felt like a vacation to me.
Friday, July 27, 2018
I always found it ironic that filmmaker Errol Morris was dropped from his Ph.D. program in philosophy for “lacking focus.” Focus, after all, is a filmmaker’s stock in trade. A bookseller’s life, on the other hand, is almost all words — written words on pages, spoken words in bookstore conversation, and screen words, like these, in e-mail and on various online platforms. Narrative or argument, poetry or prose, on the page or in the air, my daily world is words, words, words.
Morris’s problem while researching his dissertation was that he found the world outside his topic too interesting not to investigate. That feeling I know all too well: an ever-fascinating world tempts me to explore it, and my new camera invites me to explore, to focus, and also to escape from words now and then, seeing what is right in front of me instead of being pulled hither and yon by associative thoughts and memories.
I don’t even have to leave my front porch to get away from it all for half an hour. After a break from words, I go back to my world of books refreshed in mind and spirit, exploring far afield through time and space.
Tuesday, July 24, 2018
Many years ago I worked in a university office that subscribed to a number of farming magazines, some research-oriented, others more for family entertainment, and one of those magazines — I don’t remember which one — had a monthly feature called “The Prettiest Place in the Country.” Subscribers were encouraged to send in photographs and descriptions, nominating their own farms for recognition. I always turned to that feature first, and I still think of today, whenever I drive Eagle Highway past the farm in the photograph above, a farm I never fail to admire and appreciate.
I often call it (pointing it out to my husband, the Artist, as if for the first time) “the prettiest place” not for its scenic location or any fairy tale aspects of the house and grounds but because it is, overall, such a clearly prosperous and well-run place. Note the neatly painted buildings, wagons lined up in a row, and lush beautiful fields of hay and grain. I have always appreciated the diversity and attention to home economics represented by the tidy woodpile, small home orchard, and livestock that used to be pastured out behind the barns.
In every season of the year, you know you are looking at a place operated and maintained by a farmer who cares. To me, that’s beautiful.