When you get up close you can see all the detail.
Katie here. I noticed mama was sort of sad lately so I thought I should take things into my own paws. This morning, on this last day of the calendar summer, I told her not to turn on that stupid TV and instead I suggested we take a walk in the woods.
I bundled her into my chariot, and I let her drive, because you know my mama loves to drive, and we went over to a park not too far away. It’s a new park to me, but I’ve been reading mama’s blog when she’s sleeping, and I see that she’s been there a couple of times without me!
Well! I don’t know what she was thinking, but I guess I’ll forgive her now that she’s taken me to explore it myself.
I knew that once I got her into the woods she’d feel better, and she says it worked. She got all artsy, taking pictures of the wildflowers that are blooming, and the morning light shining through the trees.
Mama says you can’t help but feel better when you’re out in nature. I let her take as long as she wanted, and we walked really slow up and down hills. She stopped a lot and that was fine with me, it let me get extra sniffing time. Win/win!
The only thing I have to say is that when mama’s focused on her camera you should stay away from her feet because she actually stepped on me! I told her off and then I made sure to pay better attention to where she was.
Mostly we were in the shade, but we did explore down near the wetlands. The flowers were so pretty, all tangled up together. And see down in the lower right, that monarch butterfly? Mama was happy that she got him in the picture too.
Mostly she took pictures of stuff that is not me. I was OK with that this time. I figured she should do what she needed to do to put a smile on her face. I didn’t even argue much when she said we should turn around and head back to the car. The sun was higher and it was getting hot anyway.
And now that I know about this park I’ll get her to take me again soon. Maybe after it gets a little cooler with a bit of a breeze to make my fur blow. I think that’s my best look.
Oh…and remember that I’m supposed to tell you about our trip back from up north last week? Well, next time mama isn’t paying attention I’ll do that.
A girl has to be strategic, you know.
Today, in fact this entire week, has been filled with sad images on television.
Here in Detroit it’s been a week of celebrating the life of Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, who died two weeks ago. There’s been days of public viewing, with lines of people stretching for blocks, all waiting in heat indexes over 100 degrees to pay their respect. Her funeral is tomorrow. Local news stations seem to broadcast little else.
And Senator John McCain died last Saturday and the national news has been filed with his story, work and funeral arrangements. I watched his Arizona funeral today. One of the television pundits commented, as we watched the family file in, that she couldn’t imagine how his seven children were feeling at the loss of their father.
I silently noted that she must not have lost a parent yet. Because if she had she’d know how easy it is to imagine how they feel.
“You didn’t have your dad as long as you’d like, but you got everything you need from him.”*
Watching them during the service, and especially as they followed the casket back out after I was right back at my mother’s funeral, and at my dad’s a few months later.
I know the feeling of standing, knees weak, at the pulpit and staring out over a standing-room-only crowd wondering if I could get the words out. I remember how it felt to smile after, shaking hands, accepting hugs, while all the time feeling totally numb.
“This I promise you – you know you’re going to make it when one day you see an image of your dad and a smile touches your lips before a tear fills your eye.”*
I know the feeling of disbelief. I know that it feels like you’re walking through mud, how the days each last an eternity, yet fly by too quickly. How that final goodbye shreds your insides.
And then this afternoon, on a highway out in New Mexico, a semi truck had a tire malfunction and crossed the median, striking a Greyhound bus head on. There are multiple deaths. Even more injuries. Families are even now receiving that phone call.
The cycle of loss never ends.
Today I seem to be enveloped in grief. Old grief for my family, new grief at recent national losses. Stabbing grief at the knowledge that more families are, tonight, beginning their own personal trek through darkness.
But I know what Joe Biden knows. That tomorrow will be a new day and the sun will shine again. And those of us that feel the pain this deeply are the lucky ones. Because we knew true love.
And true love never dies.
*Quotes above are paraphrased from Vice President Biden’s eulogy for John McCain today. They touched something inside of me, because he was exactly right.
While Katie and I were up north we happened across a wildflower garden that had attracted a lot of monarch butterflies.
You may or may not know that the monarchs are endangered and oh so delicate. It was good to see many of them enjoying the garden on the shores of Lake Michigan.
I felt privileged to have been there while they were lunching.
After weeks and weeks of bugging mama she finally took me on an adventure this past week. She claims we haven’t done anything fun all summer because it’s been too hot, but I think she’s just lazy.
She says it’s a lot of work to take me camping but I don’t agree. All she has to do is make sure she brings my stuff. My bed, my pillows, my leashes, my bowls, my food, my treats, my towels. You get the idea. If she brings herself a toothbrush she’s pretty much good to go.
Anyway on Wednesday she packed the car (and me) and we headed to my favorite up north campground, Hartwick Pines. I like it because it has lots of trails through old pine forests that we can explore.
So what do we do there? Well, I ask my mama to take me on lots of walks around the campground. And each day we go out early in the morning on a longer trail through the woods.
My favorite walk is a paved trail that cuts through huge pine trees. It has a little chapel on a hill that we visit on the way.
Mama says it’s good for a sheltie-girl to stop in at church once in awhile.
The paved walk ends at a logging museum place. Mama and I always explore around there, cause you never know what you’ll find. I was hoping for a lecture so that I could learn more about the logging camp, but we were there too early in the morning.
So we looked around on our own. This red thing was to roll over the snow so the loggers could get around in winter. Gee. I like snow, but I don’t think I’d like that much snow!
Mama said I looked very pretty next to the old buildings, and she asked me to sit next to a whole lot of them. I figured that was OK, it was a long walk back to the car so I was in no hurry to move along. Sitting for photos was a good way to rest cause she gives me a treat after each shot. That’s spelled out in our contract you know.
We were only at the campground two nights. Mama said that was fine as she was cold both nights. She said especially the first night her nose was cold and her fingers were cold and her feet were cold. And her sleeping pad deflated and she was too tired to get up and inflate it again.
Me? I thought everything was lovely. The low 50s is perfect for sleeping if you ask me. So when mama started packing up on Friday morning I was puzzled.
Why mama? Why are we leaving? This is all just perfect!
Now stop that right now mama! I demand that you stop taking the tent down.
Oh. Well. If you must.
But I didn’t like it. Not at all.
Mama says I need to wrap this up and I don’t have time to tell you all about our trip home. Mama didn’t take me home right away, so there’s more to tell. Maybe she’ll let me get on her laptop again soon.
Stay tuned. The story continues.
Regardless of whether you’re a Republican, a Democrat, an Independent or none of the above, tonight you have to feel some sadness at the passing of Senator John McCain. A decent man who tried to solve problems through bipartisan support, he repeatedly spoke up against the inertia that is Congress. He was frustrated, as many of us are, by today’s political wheel spinning, by the lack of progress, by the rhetoric.
Maybe now we should take a moment and think about the lessons he was trying to teach us. That regardless of our own beliefs it’s always important to listen, really listen, to an opposing viewpoint. That we need to remember the art of compromise. That we can’t solve anything without support from both sides of the aisle
That not everyone across the aisle is an enemy.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if, in his memory, we all try to be more open, more accepting of differences, more willing to try to understand opposing viewpoints. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if, in his memory, members of Congress pull back on the rhetoric and work together to solve issues for the good of the country.
And wouldn’t it be wonderful if, in his memory, we all stepped up our attempts to be decent human beings. Regardless of political leanings.
Seems to me that would be an appropriate thank you for a life well lived.
Yesterday, during our last day of adventuring, Katie and I stopped for a few minutes in Mackinaw City, located at the northern tip of the lower peninsula of Michigan. There’s a 5 mile bridge between the lower and upper peninsula of our state, built in the 50s, and in the park at the base of the bridge is a sculpture dedicated to the iron workers that worked on the bridge as it was being built.
The sculpture of the iron worker showcases many of the tools needed to do the work, the details making it particularly interesting. When we saw it we just knew it would be perfect for Cee’s challenge this week!
I’m retired, so one day is pretty much like another. Weekends have no real significance, and Monday is now my favorite day of the week because most of you go back to work and I don’t have to.
I know. That’s just cruel.
But then again sometimes weekends are filled with so many fun things that I actually am sorry to see them end. Like this past one.
It started out with me volunteering on a campaign for a woman who is running for Congress in my district. Our district has been represented in Congress by one party for as far back as I can remember. This year there’s a serious contender, a woman with military experience, who has worked for the Pentagon and was willing to sit with my husband and I for over an hour discussing truck safety issues.
She’s got my vote.
So, though I am not political and have never worked on a campaign before, Saturday morning found me sitting in a small stuffy room with several other people my age, all of us peering through our bifocals at our laptops as a young campaign worker explained the data entry project we volunteered to help with.
She was so patient with us as we fumbled through connecting to their WiFi, stumbled over the password, then tried to understand the data entry program. Never once did she roll her eyes, though I have to admit I did at least once.
Turns out she had just graduated from high school, and was taking a gap year before she went to college just to work on this campaign. Amazing. She was nineteen and had the ability to make us not feel stupid when we asked questions as we worked through the huge pile of reports filed with information from volunteers out canvasing neighborhoods.
Her enthusiasm was contagious and we willingly worked past the time we originally committed to get the job done.
And to reward myself for sitting in that small room straining my eyes for hours I took myself to the Woodward Dream Cruise that was happening in a town not so far away.
If you’re asking what that is, well, you’re not from around here.
In the old days, on Friday and Saturday nights the locals would drive their muscle cars up and down Woodward Avenue, through and between several towns. These days, for one weekend every August, people come from all over the country, some bringing their antique muscle cars, to do the same.
The streets are lined with people who enjoy watching the beautiful cars go by. Parking lots are filled with more of the vehicles.
I fell in love with this pair of vehicles.
There’s a sort of elegance that most cars today lack. I guess we’re more functional and less stylish these days.
I enjoyed wandering around, though I walked less than one mile down Woodward Avenue, and spent maybe an hour there. I loved taking pictures of old cars, the lines so beautiful, the colors so vibrant.
Anyway. That was Saturday. Sunday a college friend and I went kayaking at my favorite park.
We rented kayaks there, for only $8 an hour. We told the (very) young lady there we’d be out for an hour at most, after all we were old. She smiled politely.
We were out for 2 hours and I’m not even sore this morning. Pretty good for a couple of old broads!
And I slept out in the backyard in the tent all weekend too, getting geared up to take at least one camping trip this summer…before summer slides away!
Katie says she hasn’t gone on one camping trip all summer. She says that’s unacceptable. I have to agree.
Many years ago I was visiting a friend up in Northport, Michigan. We were out taking pictures, mostly in the woods and along the lake shore. But we also stopped in town where I noticed this interesting shop window and grabbed a shot without even leaving the car.
Can you find the reflection?