We have a winner on the Mystery Spot! It is Irene Cowley from Inglewood, California! Please see end of blog post for the Mystery Spot answer!
On Wednesday evening Ted and I attended the Mackinac Associates Annual Meeting. After a box dinner under a tent on the fort grounds, close to 85 Associates boarded two-horse hitch carriages for a tour of Mackinac Island’s unique geological features. Mackinac State Historic Parks Naturalist Jeff Dykehouse was aboard to present the scientific explanation for these features, and Native American interpreter Deleta Smith was along to discuss the native legend of the landmarks.
Of course I brought my camera, and I even brought a tiny notebook and a pen. I took notes. And I wish I could repeat all the facts Jeff gave us (they were amazing), and tell you the wonderful stories related by Deleta (they were fascinating). But the truth is, although I took notes, I found myself only half listening to these gifted park employees and instead being caught up in where I was.
I’ve found myself lately asking if I am beginning to lose some of my wonder for this island. I write about it almost everyday, and just as all of us start to take for granted that which we have near us for a period of time, I’ve found myself taking for granted the beauty of this mystical place I fell so in love with eleven years ago. I do the same thing in Georgia.
There, I get up every morning and have my coffee on a sunporch overlooking Lake Blackshear. When I say “overlooking”, I almost mean that literally, as the water is only 30-40 yards from our back door. We watch eagles and egrets and hawks fly by everyday. We have our very own otter who swims by each morning and climbs into our boat house to feast on fresh-caught brim or catfish (what he leaves in the boat house is another story). Mom and dad mallards hatch their babies and teach them eventually to jump over our seawall (and later to fly over our fence) so they can feed on the seed that falls from the big birdfeeder hanging from our crabapple tree. And the birds! Finches, cardinals, blue jays, robins, sparrows, wrens, brown thrashers (our Georgia state bird and the biggest mess-maker in bird-dom), and an occasional bluebird and cedar waxwing – we have all these and many more. We see all this every day, and sad to say, most of the time we take it for granted.
And then someone visits. They sit on the porch that first morning with eyes sparkling, seeing nature awaken, watching and listening to the waves lapping on the seawall, seeing and hearing all the things we see and hear. And once again, we see it for the first time – through their eyes.
Wednesday night that happened to me again – but instead of seeing it all through someone else’s eyes, it was as though I was given that entire tour to open my own eyes once again to the island’s magic.
When a visitor learns I live on the island half the year and asks what drew me here, my standard answer is “the weather”. That’s easy to understand. Explain that the summers here are a good 20 degrees cooler than Georgia, and most folks get it. But if they probe further, and if they really seem interested, they will get the long story. And what I tell them is this . . .