Showing posts from July, 2018

Leelanau, Intentionally

You have to be deliberate about coming to Leelanau. In the mitten state, Leelanau is the "little finger" county jutting out into Lake Michigan - as far northwest as you can go in the lower peninsula. Here, where the road ends and the water begins, there's no such thing as just passing through. No.  You drive (or hike, or bike) a two lane into Leelanau.  You're here.  And then you drive out of Leelanau when your time is up.  Hopefully not too soon. If you make it to this little northern outpost, you're not on your way to somewhere else. So, ... everyone here in the Land of Delight wants to be here.  Some, for a tranquil break from their downstate routine.  Others, for a permanent camp beside the water and the dunes. This makes for a pretty happy place for all concerned. And isn't happiness the whole point?  The longing for it is wired into us because true happiness is our destiny.  And Leelanau gives us a sweet taste of what is to come ...

Leelanau's Misunderstood Tree

The Leelanau peninsula is home to countless thick stands of black locust trees - one of them right outside my window. Now many people simply don't like this tree - with its small canopy of tiny leaves, atop an ungracefully tall, thin and deeply furrowed trunk.   Yes, as trees go, the black locust is not a very pretty sight ... looking more, some would say, like an extremely large weed. But over the years, I've come to respect and admire this fixture of the Leelanau landscape. The black locust was widely planted in the early 1900's after the native virgin timber had been clear cut.  A fast-growing tree, it stabilized and enriched the soil - and served as a strong windbreak for the crops that followed the lumber boom. The wood of the black locust is very dense and hard - almost indestructible.  Taking an ax to it feels like hitting a brick wall.  No wonder that for the early settlers of the lakeshore, It was the wood of choice for fence posts, docks and other