We Are Heading North 5/11/2012

Header:  A photo from last fall.

In “Moby Dick” Ishmael admits,Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth . . . (and) it requires a strong moral principal to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street and methodically knocking people’s hats off – then I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can.”

Although it’s not the ocean I’m craving, I know exactly how Ishmael felt when he said those words.  I believe within each of us there is a place where we know we can shed our “grim mouth”, and at times we feel setting our GPS systems toward that place is a necessity, if we are ever to smile again.  For some it is the sea, with the rush of waves crashing against white sand or jagged rocks.  Others prefer the mountains, with the scent of pine trees and air that is clean and crisp.  A long ribbon of dirt road dividing planted fields of cotton beckons some toward their happy place.  And for a few it is a drive down a lakeshore road called Flintside and a cottage on the ri’vah that brings peace of mind and spirit.

At this time last year, I wrote the following:  “For some reason, I’m finding it a little harder to leave our Georgia home this year, and I’ve tried to reason out why that is.  As we grow older I think we probably cleave more tightly to our “core” – those friends and family members who have known and loved us the longest and who, even though they know all our secrets – good and bad –  love us anyway.  Perhaps, for that reason alone, I’ll feel this tug at my heart a little more with each passing year.”

My heart is feeling that tug again right now – another year has passed, we’ve done some sprucing up of that cottage on the ri’vah, our friendships here grow deeper and deeper.  It is harder than ever to leave.

But it’s spring . . . and my soul is craving Mackinac Island, and maybe – come May – it always will.  For five years now the coming of spring has meant going north, and although I certainly don’t think I have a “grim mouth”, the thought of boarding a ferry in a few days and seeing the Island rising up out of Lake Huron sure does cause my lips to curve upward.

A few statistics:  It will be our fifth summer on the island and my fourth year writing Bree’s Mackinac Island Blog.  I penned the first post in April of 2009, and that month there were 66 readers.  In July of that first summer, 7,782 folks read the blog, and last summer in July, there were 23,950 readers.  I’ve written 516 posts so far (when I started, I was hoping I could come up with maybe 20).  The majority of Bree’s Blog readers are from the U.S., but amazingly readers have found their way here from Canada, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Russia, Macedonia, India, Malta, Japan, Australia, and Ukraine.  Since the blog began, the total readership has been a little less than half a million people.  I just have to tell you that I’m blown away by that, but it proves that Mackinac Island is a place people want to visit – or they’ve already visited this magical little dot in the Great Lakes and want to learn more.  I’m so happy to try and help with that.

We are leaving on Saturday for the Island and will spend two nights on the road.  We’ll be stopping Saturday night in Kentucky, an hour south of cousins Ted has not seen in 31 years.  We’ll visit with them on Sunday morning and hopefully convince them to come to the Island this season.  Sunday night will find us at our favorite Michigan overnight spot – the Best Western in Whitmore Lake.  Come Monday, good Lord willing, we’ll arrive at the Shepler Ferry dock in Mackinaw City, sometime in the early afternoon.  I’m grinning so big as I type this it’s a good thing I’m not outdoors because gnats would fill up my mouth in two seconds!

Some details:

  • As usual, I’ll try to check in each night on the road just to let you know we did make it to Point A and Point B – on the way to Point C.
  • The first official Mackinac “Season” post will be Friday, May 18.  I’m going to need a few days to unpack and settle in (but hey – you know me – there might be something before then, even if it’s just a photo or two).
  • Don’t forget to check the “Dog-Eared Page” every day or so, or make it easy on yourself and just subscribe to it!
  • Yes, if you want one, we’ll have the Mystery Spot Contest again this summer.  Details to come.
  • I know I say this every year, but this year I really, really mean it.  I’m planning on two posts a week – one on Monday morning, and one on Friday morning (just like the Lake Blackshear Blog this winter).  That schedule works really well for me plus gives me enough time to find something interesting and fun to write about.
  • I’m planning to add one more page (as yet unnamed) to be published daily.  This, like the Dog-Eared Page, will be a photo with caption.  That way, for those of you who simply MUST have a daily shot of Mackinac with your coffee, you won’t be all cranky and snarly each day that isn’t a Monday or a Friday.  Once that one is published, you will need to subscribe to it also.
  • Safe travel prayers are always appreciated.

Ok.  I think that’s it for now.  One more day of packing and then “we are heading north”.

A Few Photos to “Get Your Motor Running”

Day one of packing.
Day two of packing.
The tulips are blooming at Shepler’s, and we’ll be right there Monday, good Lord willing.
Boat loads of horses are still arriving on the Island. (Photo: Mary McGuire)
A lovely watercolor by friend and artist Mary Lou Peters, who was visiting the Island today.

Personal Note

Happy Mother’s Day on Sunday to all my beautiful readers who are also mothers.  It’s hard to believe my mom has been gone almost five years now.  Not a day goes by that I don’t think of her and talk to her and wish I could drop by the house on Washington Street in Sylvester for chit-chat, her special pressure-cooker roast and gravy, and – most of all – one of those hugs only moms know how to give. Happy Mother’s Day, Mama.  You are missed, you are loved, you are always in my heart.

My beautiful Mama.
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28 thoughts on “We Are Heading North 5/11/2012

  1. Brenda, you forgot to mention the stop off in Illinois to pick me up! ;). How awesome is the fact, that of all the people in all the different places, that are following Bree’s blog, that I would be one of them! Have loved every minute of it! Can’t wait to see you and Ted this summer! AND Happy Mother’s Day to YOU!!

  2. I love reading these too, Brenda. Thanks for sharing. Have a safe trip. Happy Mother’s Day to you too.

  3. Bree, thanks for mentioning your mother and reminding me how we will never forget them. I just lost my mother this week and the visitation will be on Mother’s Day and my husband was worried it would always make Mother’s Day hard on me, but I tried to tell him that EVERY Mother’s Day would be sad without my mother no matter when the service was! So, thank you for giving me a reason to say “I told you so” to my hubby!

  4. Brenda,

    Do you know if the picture of the horses being led up the street was taken on Cadotte? I think the house in the picture is the one I lived in for three summers. If it is, the upstairs window just over the horse’s head was the window of my bedroom.

  5. Love the suitcases, Bree. Like seeing the history of your wondrous blog. Having you as my first encourager, I am happy to report I have 10,289 reads of 166 posts over just a little short of 1 1/2 years. I am totally surprised how it added up, as you said it would, and I only have a very few who comment, not the long list as you do but I found out the pure joy that comes from the activity itself. It is some of the most FUN writing I have done AND I feel a real responsibility to write to the airwaves “out there”, another facet of certifying that I just might be certifiable!

  6. Once again, you have brought me to tears, Brenda. That is a good thing. I feel so much like you do about the Island and leaving friends behind but looking forward to new adventures. I also feel the same way you do about my mom—who, bless her heart is 90 years old. Today, I watched a video clip of horses coming onto the Island and once I heard that “clip-clop”, I knew I was ready!!
    The numbers of your readership are fantastic—and I know why!!
    I look forward to seeing you soon and hopefully becoming better friends!!! 🙂

  7. Great post tonight! Thank you for 4 years of wonderful blogs. It is not suprising you have so many followers. You should really consider writing a book about your adventures on the Island. I am counting the days until I can return to to the Island in June. Have a safe trip North and Happy Mother’s Day!

    • Needed an extra bag to pack the boots, Mary. Hope you’ve still got those “stairs” so I can get high enough off the ground to climb on!

  8. Glad to see you are so excited about returning to Mackinac Island. It has been our pleasure to follow your adventures these past four years. Do think about writing a book version of this blog with plenty of pictures!

    • Oh, Judith – don’t think I haven’t wanted to write a book – with pictures. Unfortunately, unless a publishing company comes along and says, “We would love to publish your book!”, it’s just not going to happen. Too expensive to self-publish with color photos, and that’s the way I’d want to go. Thanks for your encouragement though!

  9. Brenda, your tales are beautiful and so enjoyable. Have a safe and happy journey and enjoy. Happy Mother’s Day to you, also. You look so much like your mother. Can’t wait for the pictures of our Beautiful Mackinac Island. Enjoy Whitmore Lake!

  10. As we try to make the decision whether to live on the island (not soon … “five year plan” …) I already struggle with the same feelings. But once you get there I am sure you will be like a kitten in a warm bowl of milk! And I can’t wait to experience your summer right here on your blog! Last weekend we were there and met “Joe Cocker” who will be a prime candidate for your Dog Eared page. If you haven’t met him in prior years I’m sure you will soon! We also met Misty and Roscoe, pugs from Market Street who I believe you already know. We have a pug who stayed home so it was wonderful to run into them several times. P.S. What a lovely picture of your Mom. Happy Mother’s Day and have a safe trip!

    • We’ve known Joe Joe for several years now, Elizabeth, and he’s already on my list of Dog-Eared Page pooches. I don’t think we know Misty and Roscoe (Lordy, I’m racking my brain for pugs on Market Street, and I am drawing a total blank). But, honestly, I’m so tired right now from packing that I’m drawing a blank on most everything!

  11. I can feel the joy in your heart that you’re returning to your island home! What a beautiful post this is…and I am thrilled that you have so many readers pausing by your Mackinac Island hearth to drink in what you share.

  12. Of course you would have a matching set of “Java Blue” Vera Bradley! In October, we will making our 4th trek to Mackinac Island from Chicagoland via Wisconsin with a stop at the brother’s cabin at Little Bay Du Noc. Our Yorkie will be in tow. We have enjoyed meeting the workers on the island and the year rounders. Thank you for posting a picture of Frankie with her dog 🙂 Enjoy those lilacs, ours are long gone here. Happy travels!

    • LOL, Susan . . . only because I have a daughter and bonus daughter with very good taste who love to give nice gifts! Safe travels!

  13. Safe travels to all of you! I also wish I was in your suitcase or trunk. I don’t think we will make it to the island this year. So am anxious to read your news!!!! Enjoy!

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