Northern Michigan

Essay: Peak Experience

17 hours ago

We climbed steadily for four days and set up camp at 10,000 feet to rest before our descent. Deep valleys fell away into shadow while the white peaks of the Himalayas stood out along the horizon.

At a distance from our tents stood a tiny stone hut—a Buddhist place of worship—with a single prayer flag fluttering from a tall pole. I stepped through the low door and laid marigolds on the rough altar.

While most of our group of seven women wanted to relax, a few of us decided to hike to 13,000 feet the next day. Surely, we could see more if we stood higher!

Essay: Inheriting the Couch

Feb 12, 2018

I have an old Victorian couch which belonged to my grandparents. It has blue velvet upholstery and a curved wooden back. Although its delicate little legs look too small to support it, the couch has proved remarkably sturdy.

As a young girl, I sat on this couch with my grandfather, my feet just reaching the edge of the cushions. He read poetry to me and showed me his big books of art reproductions.  The couch wasn’t blue then but covered in a beige fabric that scratched my bare legs.

The goddess of love and beauty returns to the evening sky this week, just in time for Valentine’s Day and New Moon!

 

Valentine’s Day is Wednesday, and will be followed by the New Moon on Thursday, then on Friday, the barest sliver of young Moon will appear on the western horizon with Venus about 30 minutes after sunset. This will be a beautiful scene, if you can catch it!

 

DNR officials inspect the first fish speared during the 2018 Black Lake sturgeon fishing season. The female sturgeon weighed 45.8 pounds and was nearly five feet long.
Morgan Springer

 

It’s dawn on February 3 on Black Lake near Onaway. It's freezing cold and snowing lightly. A procession of big pickup trucks and snowmobiles drives across the ice toward villages of fishing shanties, specks in the hazy distance.

St. Ambrose Cellars

A business that makes wine, mead and beer in Benzie County has been told to stop holding events. 

St. Ambrose Cellars has hosted open mic nights, fundraisers and even weddings on the property for several years. But a letter from the Homestead Township zoning administrator said the business is not allowed to do that in their zoning district. 

There are three planets outside the orbit of the Earth that are visible to the naked eye: Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. All three of them are visible in the morning sky this week, and the one I want to zero in on is Mars.

 

Essay: Free Spirit

Feb 2, 2018

It was the end of the nineteen-sixties—that decade of conflict and liberation—and I was  working in Chicago.  Young and single, I enjoyed being on my own, being a free spirit.

Then a boyfriend asked me to visit him in California.  Ray was renting a house west of Hollywood where he and his roommates were waiting for their “big break.” Everyone I met seemed to be waiting for a big break—as an actor, a director, a screen writer.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

A second school district in northern Michigan has shut down because of the flu.

Mesick Consolidated Schools closed on Wednesday and doesn’t plan to open again until next week.

The district says nearly a quarter of students missed class on Tuesday due to illness.

Eli Brown stares down one of his skis in his wax trailer, just off the VASA Trail in Traverse City. Brown will head to South Korea to serve as ski support for Team USA cross-country skiers during the 2018 Winter Olympics.
David Cassleman

Eli Brown spent years training for the Winter Olympics, and now he’s finally going. But Brown isn’t competing as an athlete. Instead, he’s making sure the U.S. cross-country ski team has the fastest skis possible.

White Pine Stampede

Officials are making last-minute changes to the popular White Pine Stampede cross-country ski race in Antrim County.

For the second year in a row, organizers are canceling the 50-kilometer race because there’s not enough snow on the course from Mancelona to Bellaire. The 10 and 20-kilometer races will be held at Shanty Creek Resorts on Saturday.

Aaron Selbig

A special prosecutor will handle a jail suicide case in Grand Traverse County. The state attorney general has appointed the Antrim County prosecutor to take over.

Alan Halloway hanged himself in the Grand Traverse County jail last summer. An investigation by Michigan State Police found that corrections officers violated multiple policies and procedures. For example, it took officers three hours to find Halloway dead in his cell; they were supposed to check him every hour. 

In many traditions it is understood that the passage from this world to the next is through the Moon sphere. This is a journey taken not only at birth and in death, but in sleep and dream, and even in the spiritual and scientific striving to know the worlds beyond our own. So what happens when there’s an eclipse, as there will be this week on Wednesday morning?

 

Essay: Dime Store

Jan 26, 2018

A few months ago I was out on my bike and stopped at the Ben Franklin store on Eighth Street for some stickers and yarn.  It reminded me of the dime store I knew as a kid, the one we always called “June’s” because my mother’s friend worked there.

While my mom chatted with June, I browsed around in the back where the kids’ stuff was:  trading cards, jacks, marbles, crayons, coloring books, furnishings for a doll house.  And since I  had very few dimes, I looked long and hard before I put my money down.

Caroline MacGregor

A well-known horse whisperer has passed away in northern Michigan. Alex MacLellan was the owner of H&H Stables in Leelanau County.


Students spin, balance, jump and walk at different stations in the gym at Central Grade School in Traverse City. Each movement is designed to help train the brain to read better.
Morgan Springer

 

A growing body of research says more physically active kids do better in school. But, across the country, time for gym class and recess has been replaced with more sedentary time in classrooms. Traverse City Central Grade School is doing the opposite though, giving kids more exercise to help boost their reading scores.

MDNR

A new study says killing wolves to protect livestock doesn't work that well. It shows that non-lethal methods in the Upper Peninsula are just as effective as lethal ones. The study comes from the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians and the University of Wisconsin. 

 


This week Thursday marks the Feast of St. Paul in the Christian calendar, and his conversion at the Gates of Damascus. And also this week, the Moon will move past its first quarter, and on toward next week’s total lunar eclipse.

 

Essay: Caretaking

Jan 22, 2018

Last summer, my husband had a serious heart operation and was in the hospital for a week.  While visiting him there, I marveled at the efficiency of the staff—doctors, nurses, attendants, food servers, custodians.  Everyone so capable, courteous, upbeat.

Then Dick came home from the hospital and it was me.  Just me, the primary caregiver.

“You’ll have to do everything,” a friend told me—and everything turned out to be more than I had imagined.

UPDATED Jan. 15, 2018: 

The second annual Women’s March will be held in Traverse City this Saturday. Organizers are planning a demonstration on Front Street. 

MSA

This week brings the first New Moon of the year, on Tuesday, and right along with it the coldest ~ and darkest ~ nights of the year.

 

If you get all bundled up to go out and look at the evening sky, you’ll find Orion, the winter maker, striding on through the stars in the south. In the morning sky, you’ll find the planets Jupiter and Mars in the east. Mars is getting ready to make its closest approach to Earth since 2003 later this year.

Morgan Springer

For decades, residents living near the Wexford County Landfill have been dealing with contaminated drinking water. The landfill was built in the 1970s and was mismanaged at times. Now, a new proposal at the site is creating new concern for residents.

Petoskey Department of Public Safety

A Charlevoix man has pleaded guilty to dealing heroin in Petoskey. Anthony Wilhelm appeared in Petoskey circuit court on Tuesday. 

Wilhelm’s alleged partner, Travis Gunderson, of Petoskey, pleaded guilty to other drug charges last month.

On Thursday morning this week, an hour before sunrise in the east, the Moon, Jupiter and Mars will make a particularly pretty showing that’s like a scene from the story of the goddess Ethuan in The Celtic Wonder Tales, where she is turned into a little golden fly because she has grown so weary of all the worlds.

Essay: A Place for Myself

Jan 5, 2018

During my first year at a university, I lived in a single room in the dorm. The girls on my hall were fun, but at the end of the day I needed my own space where I could do my homework and play my Frank Sinatra albums.

Still, when the opportunity came to pledge a sorority, I seized it. I thought it was a chance to change my shy, serious self into one of those popular girls—the ones who were gregarious and social and attractive to boys. My friends thought I was crazy.

Sebastian Junger is an author and Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker. His book “The Perfect Storm” was made into a Hollywood movie. Junger’s latest book is “Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging.” Sebastian Junger is joined by Philip Caputo, a Pulitzer prize-winning journalist and novelist whose book “A Rumor of War” is considered a landmark of Vietnam war literature. Caputo and Junger talk with retired U.S. diplomat, and political advisor to NATO, Jack Segal. Segal asked Caputo to start the discussion by reading from his book.

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